Redefining What it Means to Be Professional

December 21, 2021

Being professional has always meant something more than how we look, sound, and what degree we received. And yet, the boundaries and barriers of how the definition of professional operated in workplaces often made some of us to feel, think, act, and show up differently when at work. When the pandemic hit, this reality and the impossible expectations of leaving some part of ourselves behind for the sake of other people came to a head. 

Almost 50% of job seekers in the U.S. say they’re more likely to be their authentic self in how they show up in the workplace compared to a year ago. And we’ve seen these conversations happen around the world in our LinkedIn community, as our members reconsider their priorities and relationships with work and life, and reclaim that being professional really means creating inclusive spaces and culture to honor each other as who we are, so that we can bring our unique experiences and perspectives to the table. This is the insight at the heart of our latest campaign.

At LinkedIn, we are committed to being a part of navigating the changing landscape of workplaces and workforces, and helping our members build a more inclusive and equitable future of work. As a part of these ongoing efforts, earlier this year we introduced the option for members to list their pronouns on their Profile, and share how they’d prefer to be identified. 

In just a short few months, more than 6 million members took advantage of this feature and are now proudly sharing their pronouns on their LinkedIn profile. What’s more, their action is part of the sense of community that’s continuing to build on LinkedIn, providing a sense of curiosity, encouragement, and courage for all of us to take part in creating a more inclusive culture and spaces for each other. And we’d love to see even more members following suit: To add your gender pronouns, simply go to your Profile and click on the pencil icon on the upper right of your Profile page. Then, add how you prefer to be addressed—such as She/Her, He/Him, They/Them, or select Custom pronouns. And lastly, select “visible to all LinkedIn members” or “your connections” and save to add to your Profile.

Many of our community members have already seen the value in using them:

  • After a long journey, Maddie Morris (She/Her), Trade Commissioner at the Consulate General Of Canada in Seattle, made the decision to publicly change her LinkedIn Profile image and name to reflect her true identity. She writes, “I hope that this small announcement can help other members of the transgender community to envision themselves pursuing a career in international relations and global governance.”

  • During their job search, Quinn Redwoods (They/Them) added pronouns to their LinkedIn header, noting that pronouns are “an essential part of our language.” Quinn no longer feels like making their pronouns easily accessible in one’s Profile will deem them “unprofessional,” seeing how many folk across the gender spectrum have done so recently on LinkedIn. Quinn has since landed a job at Honeycomb in San Francisco, California as a Sales Development Representative.

Your Profile is more than just a career highlight reel. It's a space to share a bit of your story, who you are, and what your journey has been. We believe giving our members the ability to include their preferred Pronouns is another form of self-identity and -expression that plays a fundamental role in acknowledging and celebrating what makes us strong together, particularly for those who may not identify with the traditional norms created by the gender binary. And in the context of work, we’ve found that 70% of job seekers believe it’s crucial for recruiters and hiring managers to begin their dialogue and relationship by learning and being aware of their gender pronouns. And that openness and commitment is building on the hiring manager side, too, with 72% agreeing with this sentiment.

And, as always, there’s more work to be done. Building and holding onto inclusive workspaces for all professionals to thrive is not a one-and-done situation. It is one that will take all of our commitments, everyday, to make it a lived experience. Our respective journeys are exactly that: journeys. We need all of you to be a part of this, and we welcome all professionals into the conversation as we continue to do our part in imagining and building a better future of work for all—one that celebrates you for who you are, and for what you uniquely bring to the table.