Paul Haarman- LinkedIn: The Definitive Guide to Acing Your Next Interview

I recently accepted a position at one of the companies I interviewed with. I wanted to share with you a few tips and strategies that helped me stand out from the crowd during my interview process says Paul Haarman. Most importantly, some of these were more geared towards Twitter (my previous employer) than LinkedIn specifically; however, they can definitely be applied to your next interview.

Let’s jump right in!

1) Craft Your Story – Why should we hire you?​

Your story matters way more than many people think it does, and this is especially important on LinkedIn where recruiters may only read a small portion before deciding if they want to consider you further. Your story is like your “elevator pitch”, only better because it’s actually true (so no need for exaggeration). It should not be more than one paragraph long, and I would highly recommend sticking to the classic 3-sentence rule:

This tells me that you are proficient in multiple disciplines (graphic design, web design) and have experience working on different platforms (Web, mobile). It also shows that your work can be applied to modern technology companies which are fantastic if your goal is to go after these types of organizations. This demonstrates not only what you know, but how well-rounded you are as a designer. This story highlights your abilities without being too long or bragging about them- exactly what we want!

2) Be Humble – Don’t brag

One mistake I’ve made in the past was including language in my LinkedIn that suggested I was the best in my industry says Paul Haarman. What I didn’t realize at the time is that recruiters would automatically assume this meant I was not humble- like “I’m the best designer you’re ever going to meet” kind of attitude. This can be dangerous because it can make you seem more like a robot than a person, and definitely detracts from your ability to connect and interact with others (which is one of the main features of LinkedIn). Here’s an example:

“Designer, iPhone enthusiast, and lover of all things beautiful.”

Sounds great right? You might think this makes you sound more interesting; however, those who read your profile may interpret it as boastful egotistical (and no company wants to hire someone who is arrogant). I should also point out that it’s not unusual for recruiters to know this language too which means they are extremely familiar with the types of descriptions you might put in your LinkedIn. Here’s how you can write about yourself without being arrogant or boastful:

“As a lover of all things beautiful, I’m passionate about designing great experiences.”

This way, you’re letting people know what you value but still keeping it humble and true to whom you are. It doesn’t automatically imply that everyone loves design; instead, it states what your interests are without bragging- exactly what we want! Plus, making this statement more generalized makes it easier for anyone outside your industry, not just recruiters) to understand.

3) Use Keywords – But don’t keyword-stuff

LinkedIn is a great place to showcase your skills and abilities, and one way to do this is by using keywords. This will make it easier for potential employers to find you when they are using the site’s search engine. However, you don’t want to go overboard and stuff your profile with so many keywords that it becomes difficult to read. Here are some tips on how to use keywords without looking like you’re trying too hard:

  • Try not to repeat the same word more than once or twice in a sentence
  • Use keywords throughout your profile, not just in your headline or summary
  • Doesn’t use generic terms; instead, try to focus on specific skills that you have
  • Think about the specific words that a recruiter might use when they are looking for someone with your skillset

For example, if you’re a web designer, some keywords you could use are “Web design,” “responsive design,” “user interface design,” etc. Paul Haarman suggests trying to mix and match these keywords so that they appear in different parts of your profile (e.g. headline, summary, experience, skills, etc.). This will make it easier for people to find you and increase the chances that they will contact you about potential opportunities.

4) Use Statistics – But don’t go overboard

One way to really stand out on LinkedIn is by using statistics in your profile. This can be a great way to show off your skills and highlights specific achievements that you’ve made in the past. However, don’t go overboard and list too many numbers. I recommend including at least one statistic but definitely not more than three- particularly if they aren’t impressive enough to stand on their own without a bunch of explanations. Here’s an example:

“Managed a team of 8 people while completing 3 new web designs every month.”

This is a great way to show how much responsibility you had while also highlighting your ability to create sites quickly. If you add any more details about this achievement, recruiters will start to get bored and stop reading which would defeat the purpose of including statistics in your profile in the first place!


Use these LinkedIn language hacks to make your profile more effective says Paul Haarman. They’ll help you showcase your skills and experience without coming across as arrogant, boastful, or too self-promoting. Best of all, they’re easy to do!


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