What are Your Pronouns? Are They Used on LinkedIn?

Are you using your pronouns on LinkedIn or elsewhere? Do you even know what using your pronouns means?

Did you know that on Facebook there were 58 gender options

A little over a half-century ago, on June 28, 1969, the Stonewall riots occurred in Greenwich Village after a police raid, that involved patrons at a gay club, became violent.

June is now designated LGBT Pride month.

If you are an employer, a hiring manager, in HR, an ally, part of the LGBTQ+, or a someone who wants to learn more about LGBTQ+ Inclusivity in the Workplace, save the date of Monday, August 10, 2020 6-8 PM for a special presentation on this topic on Zoom. The image used for this August 10th event is the straight ally flag, which represents that you are straight, but you do not hate. You may also want to learn how to be a Safezone Ally

Read about some companies that celebrate pride all year long and check out the Philly Gay Pride site, Philadelphia Gay News, and tune into #globalpride on 6abc on Saturday, June 27th. 

As a straight ally, I felt the need to educate myself to learn more about all of these gender options. The educator in me is now sharing this knowledge with you. For example, Trans* with the asterisk is used to denote inclusivity and diversity of gender identities and “interrupt the viewers and readers attention momentarily, to draw attention to genderist assumptions about identities” (Patton et al., 2016, p. 179).

There are many differences between sex, gender, and sexual identities that are very distinctive and, without definitions, it might be challenging to compare and contrast. Sex is typically defined as differences between males and females that are biological and physiological in nature with DNA chromosomes, genes, and sexual organs  (Patton et al., 2016). Gender refers to a differentiation that is influenced socially relating to roles and behaviors, as well as attributes and activities in how individuals conduct themselves in society (Patton et al., 2016). Although closely related, gender and sex are not synonymous.

These identities interact with an individual’s experience by how they identify, which could be feminine, masculine, both, or neither as a sense of self and choice of gender expression. Gender expression might evolve and change through an individual’s life. To better understand and make sense of these concepts, binary systems (categories of two things) can be used to identify sex as male or female, gender identity as male or female, gender role as masculine or feminine, and sexual orientation as heterosexual or homosexual. 

Society is dealing with a spectrum of gender identity and how people behave and present or identify themselves. Individuals are grappling with issues regarding bathrooms, dorm roommates, sports competitions, legal documents, marriage, health insurance, healthcare services, surgeries, military, scouting, laws, policies, discrimination, “alienation, harassment, … violence,” and so much more (Patton et al., 2016, p. 180). 

Other identities, such as race, ethnicity, or social class, interact with individuals’ gender identities by their personal interactions, peer culture, and environments (Patton et al., 2016). Individuals’ understanding of acceptable expressions of masculinity and femininity differ across other identities. People can explore how they dress, wear their hair and makeup, wear jewelry, and set their posture based on their own self-concept and self-perception (Patton et al., 2016).

Many of the definitions for these terms for gender expression can be found in this glossary. Perhaps some of these terms may be new to you, as they were to me. 

  • Agender
  • Androgyne
  • Androgynous
  • Bigender
  • Cis
  • Cisgender 
  • Cis Female
  • Cis Male
  • Cis Man
  • Cis Woman
  • Cisgender Female
  • Cisgender Male
  • Cisgender Man
  • Cisgender Woman
  • Female to Male 
  • FTM
  • Gender Fluid
  • Gender Nonconforming
  • Gender Questioning
  • Gender Variant
  • Genderqueer
  • Intersex
  • Male to Female
  • MTF 
  • Neither
  • Neutrois
  • Non-binary
  • Other
  • Pangender
  • Trans
  • Trans*
  • Trans Female
  • Trans* Female
  • Trans Male
  • Trans* Male
  • Trans Man
  • Trans* Man
  • Trans Person
  • Trans* Person
  • Trans Woman
  • Trans* Woman
  • Transfeminine
  • Transgender 
  • Transgender Female
  • Transgender Male
  • Transgender Man
  • Transgender Person
  • Transgender Woman
  • Transmasculine
  • Transsexual 
  • Transsexual Female
  • Transsexual Male
  • Transsexual Man
  • Transsexual Person
  • Transsexual Woman
  • Two-Spirit

You have seen many companies use a pride overlay on their logos, and this month LinkedIn is proudly sporting their rainbow logo. But do individuals use their pronouns on LinkedIn? Moreso no, then yes, but some do. If you follow #pronouns and #lgbtq and related hashtags on LinkedIn, you will see that people are making posts, and the number of followers is sure to increase over time, especially with the new Federal law protecting LGBTQ rights in the workplace.


Patton, L. D., Renn, K. A., Guido, F. M., & Quaye, S. J. (2016). Student development in college (3rd ed.). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


Lynne Williams is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group, a 501(c)3 nonprofit with over 6300 members and alumni providing career education and networking. Lynne also writes for vista.today, montco.today, and delco.today.

LinkedIn Updates - Keeping Up with Changes

Did you know that there is a LinkedIn hashtag for #Juneteenth which is the portmanteau of 19th and June? You can learn what others are saying by following this hashtag or by using it yourself on your posts about this momentous day in 1865 when slavery ended in Galveston, Texas. 

What else is new on LinkedIn? The menu bar is now black instead of dark gray. Speculation is that it changed for Black Lives Matter, but there does not seem to be an announcement about this, though LinkedIn did make a BLM statement. The change of the menu bar just magically appeared as black this past week.

Headlines used to be limited to 120 characters on the desktop, but you might have been in the recent rollout and now can expand it. LinkedIn has not yet updated their knowledge base article on this change to announce the official number of characters, but others have posted that you may have up to 220 characters.

Posts now have six options: 

1) celebrate a teammate (welcome a new teammate or give kudos to someone)

2) find an expert (in accounting, coaching & mentoring, design, marketing, and other)

3) share a profile with your network or search for a friend or former coworker, or connection)

4) add a job (create a new post or add a link)

5) create a poll (as long as it’s not political, or medical information or other sensitive data)

6) offer help (general, referrals, career coaching, resume reviews, introductions, volunteer work, or other)

Some other LinkedIn changes are below:

  • People Also Viewed has increased from 10 to 20
  • Hashtag displays are being reconfigured
  • COVID-19 themed banners are coming
  • Away messages for premium users are coming
  • Broadcast link field for online events is coming
  • A new search user interface is coming
  • Image cropping is coming

Need some visuals of the above? Here’s a great post from Andy Foote in Chicago. Andy also includes the reminder that LinkedIn will shorten the URLs in your posts if they are more than 26 characters. When you see the bitly links used by me on behalf of the nonprofit, those are shortened URLs also.


Lynne Williams is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group, a 501(c)3 nonprofit with almost 6300 members and alumni providing career education and networking. Lynne also writes for vista.today, montco.today, and delco.today.

Remember the Lessons You Learned in Kindergarten for Your Career and Life

Remember the Golden Rule? Remember the lessons you learned in kindergarten? How do we make the world a better place? How can we be better as individuals? As an educator, I believe knowledge is power and I believe in lifelong learning. I know that I don’t know what I don’t know, but do want to share what I do know. Do you remember Robert Fulghum’s Poem called All I Really Need to Know I Learned…

Black Lives Matter: No One Should Hide Who They Are on LinkedIn

The message is clear. We said: Black Lives Matter. Never said: Only black lives matter. We know: All lives matter. We just need your help with #BlackLivesMatter for Black Lives are in danger!

As an avid daily user on LinkedIn, I saw this post with a little girl holding a sign with these words and thought it was worth sharing. Silence is not the answer to achieve the collective ideals for equality in our country. Voices are. Although I am a white and not a black voice, I stand in solidarity for justice. As an educator, I will use my voice to educate to say Black Lives Matter, and here are some resources to learn more.

We recently hit a “tipping point,” which, according to Malcolm Gladwell, is “that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” The death of George Floyd is tragic, not magic, but the social behavior that occurred afterward indeed spread like wildfire. One death caused a global movement. One death was a “catalyst of something we have never seen before,” according to T.J. Holmes of Good Morning America, who suggested you close your eyes and think of the first image that pops into your head when you hear the name, George Floyd. It’s a knee on a neck.

How do we make sure this man’s death, and countless others, was not in vain? How do we move forward to a better tomorrow? We educate. We reflect. We take action. We don’t remain silent.

I listened to a voice on a Facebook post where a woman was explaining the game of Monopoly. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Africans were kidnapped and forced into slavery, so they were invited to play the game of Monopoly and had no money and no property. The odds were stacked against them to win. In the 19th century, there was a Civil War that tore our own country apart. This was followed by Reconstruction, Emancipation, and then a hundred years later, the Civil Rights Movement. Racism and discrimination have not stopped over time, and the Monopoly board still does not have players with equal rights who are given the same opportunities. It is the year 2020, and we are not where we should be with social justice. According to our Constitution, we are created equally for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We should mean everybody. 

When our founding fathers wrote the Constitution, slavery existed. In fact, all but two of the first twelve Presidents of the United States had slaves. The second and sixth presidents did not have slaves, and that would be John Quincy Adams and John Adams. How would I know this factoid? I sent a sample to Ancestry.com found out I am a descendant of John Adams and Abigail Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams. Apparently, I am 4% black from Cameroon, Ghana, and Nigeria, but you would never know it based on my white skin. I have, what is called, white privilege and others whose skin is different than mine experience oppression, and this has been going on for hundreds of years. Enough is enough. 

Oppression is where individuals or groups of people are treated unjustly or unfairly that could include being exploited, marginalized, or powerless. One could experience violence or cultural imperialism with dominance over a nondominant community (Patton et al., 2016). Examples of oppression could also include heterosexism, racism, and sexism. Other examples include, but are not limited to, are ableism, ageism, colonialism, militarism, misogyny, and patriarchy. 

Privilege is invisible and is the existence of benefits that are unearned, and “afforded to powerful social groups within systems of oppression” (Case et al., 2012; as cited in Patton et al., 2016, p. 77). Examples of privilege include, but are not limited to, ability, Christian, gender, heterosexual, social class, and white skin color (Patton et al., 2016). Privilege can be in the form of entitlements that are unearned or they can be dominance that is conferred (Patton et al., 2016). 

How do we disrupt racism? How do we unlearn racism? How can we respect, appreciate, and celebrate racially different people? The key is education, so there are opportunities to explore “assumptions, beliefs, and ideologies” concerning privilege and oppression (Patton et al., 2016, p 114). Another key is to provide jobs with equal pay so that the players that come to play the game of Monopoly have a fair chance.

If you have not read my article on diversity and inclusion from 2019, I shared a story about an African-American male who participated in one of my resume workshops, and he shared with me that he did not want to put his LinkedIn profile URL on his resume. He wanted the hiring managers to judge him on his skills, work experience, and formal education and not his color. He did get a job and did include his picture on LinkedIn after he got his job, but no one should have to hide who they are on LinkedIn

What can YOU do to be a catalyst for change?

Credit for image from Instagram account! https://lnkd.in/dMVSeCy


Lynne Williams is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group, a 501(c)3 nonprofit with almost 6300 members and alumni providing career education and networking. Lynne also writes for vista.today, montco.today, and delco.today.

Rebranding to Pivot Your Career

Are you making a career pivot? Do you need to rebrand yourself? Do you know what to do to market yourself for your future forward position?

As noted in the previous article, you completed all these steps so far:

  • You decided to make a change.
  • You have done a SWOT analysis of yourself.
  • You know your passions and where you want to go… OR
  • You have hired a coach to help bring clarity, so you know your next move.
  • You have taken stock of your skillset and gaps of knowledge and have taken assessments.
  • You have made some goals for learning or moving your pivot forward. 
  • You are ready to update your career documents – resume, LinkedIn, elevator pitch, networking plan, cover letter, accomplishment stories, positioning statement, department statement, value proposition, etc. 

Now what? It’s time to research keywords that combine your unique individual skillset and the keywords of your next position, whether as a W-2 employee or as an entrepreneur. 

Where do these keywords come from?

First of all, they come from you, doing a brain dump of all the things you are good at. It’s mainly going to be a list of hard skills, but there may be some soft skills

If you are looking for a W-2 job, you can analyze the keywords in the job description. You would highlight text as you carefully read and use a free tool like WordArt or another text analyzer. 

You can also use tools like Google Trends

For keywords in LinkedIn, you need to use the job titles and keywords in LinkedIn’s database and see how words compare, by looking them up in the jobs tab. For example, compare “budget” to “budgets” to “budgeting” to find out the best version of this word to use in LinkedIn. The final choice may be different than the synonym you use when applying to a job description.

To learn more about keywords for matching job descriptions, attend the ATS workshops on June 1 or 11 by registering on links on the events listings page. 

To learn more about keywords for LinkedIn, join the virtual workshops on LinkedIn Parts 1, 2, and 3 on June 6, 13, and 20, respectively, by registering on ccls.org.

Developing a keyword analysis is both an art and a science. You are much better off making informed decisions from data drive sets of keywords than just guessing words off the cuff. Do your research, but make sure you are hyper-focused on your future forward position so you are clearly branding yourself! 


Lynne Williams is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group, a 501(c)3 nonprofit with almost 6300 members and alumni providing career education and networking. Lynne also writes for vista.today, montco.today, and delco.today.