This morning I received yet another “invitation to connect” on LinkedIn, this time from a nice guy I met once a couple of years ago and who lives in Italy. I hesitated to add him because I wondered how germane our relationship is to my professional life. But since little seems to separate Facebook from LinkedIn these days I went ahead and added him. And the reality is, one really never knows where work will come from. This has been proven to me over and over again in the last few years.
That accomplished, I couldn’t help but notice the constant nagging to update my profile while on the LinkedIn site. Usually I just ignore this nagging, but then I read my latest job description, which was first updated when I moved to New York almost 5 years ago, and it made me cringe a little. Plus, when looking over the list of past work experience, there was this annoying 2.5 year gap that, although explained briefly in my most current work entry, would probably leave people a little confused at a quick glance. So I broke out my mid-life crisis as a separate work experience for that time period and rewrote my current one to be a little more work-only focused. That accomplished, the nagging blue box prompts on LinkedIn kept coming, egging me on to “complete” my profile with ever greater and detailed information from my distant past. Most of these I ignored (who needs to know what specific courses I took in college over 20 years ago, really), but there was one staring me in the face a bit:
“How would you summarize yourself and your objectives?”
Ugh. Now this was starting to feel like a dating site. I made a couple of stabs at it, but none I was too happy with, and ultimately decided to leave it for another time. I suppose this section is important, but rather like the objective line that they tell kids to always put on their first resume and which almost no one reads before skipping to the experience, it vexed me. On the one hand, I don’t want to reduce myself to some technical, dry description of what I am capable of, but neither do I want to put in a flowery paean to myself as a lonely soul in search of world peace and harmony. So I decided to mull it over a bit and return there one day in the not too distant future. I am lucky that I have lots of work currently and have not needed to look for any in about 2 years. I think of LinkedIn as the place for people to go when they are in need of new jobs or project work, so we will leave this bit of self-promotion for another time or perhaps I will ask someone else to write it for me. Any takers?