After analyzing data from more than 141 million of its U.S. members, LinkedIn identified a key difference in the way men and women present themselves in profiles: Women promote themselves and their successes considerably less.
The report suggests that men talk themselves up more, and list more information in general:
When looking at LinkedIn member data, we found men tend to skew their professional brands to highlight more senior-level experience, often removing junior-level roles altogether.
Women are more likely to have shorter profile summaries.
In the U.S., women on average include 11% less skills than men on their LinkedIn profile, even at similar occupations and experience levels.
It’s not the first evidence that implies self-promotion comes easier for men. In 2011, the American Psychological Association published a cover story that explored how men and women differ in their approaches to self-promotion and salary negotiation in the workplace, titling the article “Are men better at selling themselves?”
The answer, in short, is yes.
In a study mentioned in the story, a group of about 200 students participated in a mock job interview, answering questions like “What are some of your best qualities or strengths?” and “Overall, why someone hire you as opposed to another candidate?”
The group was then asked to consider how they came off during the interview by answering questions like “Would you worry that people thought you were too confident?” and “Would you worry about being called vain?”
The results showed that both men and women worried about the consequences of appearing overconfident, however only women let that fear stop them from self-promoting.
“It’s not that women are inherently lacking the ability to self-promote, but it’s a stereotype violation for them,” said study author Corinne A. Moss-Racusin, PhD, a professor at Skidmore College, to the American Psychological Association.
That stereotype – that women aren’t (or shouldn’t be) assertive – puts women in a unique situation professionally
“Women face a double bind. They’re penalized socially for behaving in ways that might be perceived as immodest, and they’re penalized professionally for behaving in ways that aren’t self-promoting,” said Marie-Helene Budworth, an associate professor at York University’s School of Human Resource Management, to the American Psychological Association.
And this seems to be costly, considering that a growing body of research indicates that women are far more reluctant than men to negotiate salaries and job offers. An analysis published in the book Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide estimated that misplaced modesty in salary negotiations cost the average working woman more than $500,000 in lost wages throughout her career.
Self-promotion on LinkedIn
Based on data from LinkedIn and some tips from Inc. and Zippia, here’s what seems to improve profiles for both men and women:
- Include more skills – profiles that list five or more skills receive about 17 times more views.
- Lean toward positive language – “Don’t use don’ts. Rather than talking about the things that your job has kept you from experiencing or the dangers you’ve avoided, bring up the wonderful things about your job,” writes Ryan Morris for Zippia.
- Keep it succinct and stick to the facts.
- Use professional photos (and smile, with teeth).
And if you’re still shy about promoting yourself? Lisa Thomas, PhD, in an interview with the American Psychological Association, relayed some advice that helped her decide to reach out to a potential employer — a decision that scored her a paid internship while studying as an undergraduate.
“Do it anyway. Because I was as scared as the next person.”
Leigh Mitchell is a Career and Business Brand Strategist and the founder of Bee Happy HR Co. which builds buzz for diversity-driven brands. We are the “Queen Bees” of recruiting and retaining women within workplaces. Leigh works with busy recruiters & HR departments to promote roles for female talent. Leigh is also the founder of Women in Biz Network, she coaches clients, speaks with influential guests on her Time to Thrive Podcast, curates mentorship initiatives, promotes Women in Biz Network’s diversity-driven career board, and delivers skill-building events to a variety of audiences. Leigh has worked with brands such as Microsoft Canada, SAGE, TELUS, TD Canada Trust, Staples Canada, and Chevrolet Canada throughout her career. Leigh has been featured in the CBC News, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Canadian Living, Wall Street Journal, and a speaker at numerous industry events.
Sara Bibb is a certified HR Leader and our Director at Bee Happy HR Co. She is a professional and certified Human Resources Professional. You will think she is part of your team because she takes pride in serving her clients and getting the best solution to the HR issues they are experiencing in their business. She excels in her superior communication skills and relationship-building skills with everyone she works with. She completed her post-graduate program in Human Resources Management at Seneca College and obtained her Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) designation in 2009. Sara discovered that smaller companies have the same HR issues as larger ones, but without the professional HR resources to handle them. What else was there to do? She started MKS HR Consulting and became the HR Department for Small Business. Sara is also the HR Mentor for Women in Biz Network.
For more information please write to email@example.com or call 416-993-2083.
So at what point do you have the career discussions with your employees. Ideally, this discussion happens with your employee as part of them being incorporated into your company right after they are hired. From there the discussion should happen on a regular basis where you are checking in with your employee to see where they are in their development plan. So you could have regular check-in’s on a monthly basis, and then move it to once a quarter-the most important thing is that you actually check in with your employee on a consistent basis.
Keep in mind that it’s not just going to be this one meeting and then your job is done. This will be the first of a few meetings because once you know what their career aspirations are, how they relate to the company’s goals, you need to create a development plan of how your employee will reach that goal and see if they are on track.
The goal of the first meeting is to let the employee know, that as their manager, you are invested in them growing with the company and in their career and you want to help as much as you can.
- In order to give that help, it’s the employee’s responsibility to communicate with you what they want their career to look like.
- What areas are they interested in?
- What are their strengths? What are some areas, they need to grow their skills and expertise in?
- Once you both have that laid out, create their development plan, the action items needed to execute the plan, milestones they need to hit and by what date, and of course regular check-in’s to see the progress they are making.
As always we are here to help. Reach out anytime by viewing our information below.
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I am a marketer, business career coach and brand strategist who loves branding your brilliance.
I often work with professional and entrepreneurial women, HR departments and national corporations who want clear, creative and story-telling strategies to amplify your brand and give you clarity around your positioning and future plans. I work with you from execution to evaluation. As the founder of Women in Biz Network, I have taken her business from a handful of women to an organization of over 35,000. I curate mentorship initiatives, promote our diversity-driven career portal, and deliver skill-building events to a variety of audiences. Throughout my career, I have worked with brands such as Microsoft Canada, TELUS, TD Canada Trust, Staples Canada and Chevrolet Canada. I have been featured in the CBC News, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Canadian Living, Wall Street Journal and a speaker at numerous industry events.
My Fun Facts: I am a part-time runner and once walked on the top of the CN Tower even though I am terrified of heights. I am married with two sons and live in Toronto, Canada. I am passionate about exploring the arts, reading, spending time in nature and practicing yoga. I absolutely love to laugh and live to be just a little goofy when I can. I volunteer with a number of causes including Scouts Canada, Active for Life and Kingsway Platform Tennis Junior Program. I have held various board positions and help to support charities that support women such as HerVolution, Canadian Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative and UGO Travel for Change.