Missing link

I hate my LinkedIn profile.

For anyone who doesn't know, LinkedIn is yet another social networking service, but specifically about employment and careers. Everyone knows how important networking is when it comes to finding the job you want. LinkedIn is the electronic version of handing out your business card at a trade show.

In your profile, you post your employment history, your skills, your goals, any information that might come in handy when seeking employment. You want prospective employers and contacts to see the work-related side of you. You make recommendations, get recommendations, and link to as many people as you want. You never know who might be someone who can help you find a new job.

Your LinkedIn profile is basically your CV writ large, like an enhanced CV. And like your CV, what you include and what you don't include can be crucial (which is what makes me wonder why people show off their personal Twitter feeds).

Why do I hate my LinkedIn profile? Because it shows where I am now—stable, but rather stuck. It shows that I've been working on a variation of the same software for more than 20 years, on and off. It shows that my education and training are rather scattered. It's simply not an exciting profile. I am grateful, more than grateful, that my job is fulfilling and that it pays me well. But my haphazard personal development are right there for all to see.

I hate that my profile doesn't really show you who I am. With what I have to show, why on earth would you hire me?

I am a software developer and technical writer, to be sure. I've learned my crafts, even if informally for the most part (not entirely—thank you, Langara College and Michael Kuttner), and I do them well. But I am also a writer and editor, and not just of a blog—I did that professionally before I shifted to software. I was a production manager. I was and am a self-taught (except for drums) musician and songwriter. I acted on stage. I was assistant director, stage manager, and light and sound operator for one show. I worked as an extra in film and television. I have a Certificate in Counselling Skills from Vancouver Community College, with practicum experience. I have done a few different musical jobs for Girls Rock Camp and Ladies Rock Camp. I'm great at helping work out ideas and turning them into reality. I work well on multi-functional teams. I love cooking, and I'm working on improving my skills. I love fashion.

How do you put that into a resumé, even an extended one? How would it make sense? How would it translate into "I am employable"?

Obviously, you have to focus your profile. You can't tell people everything about yourself. You have to point it in the direction you want to go. It helps if it's related to the direction from which you came.

The problem for me right now is that I'm still in my current position, but once that's done, I don't want to go in the same direction whence I came. And I'm only at the stage of figuring out what that direction might be. It seems likely to me that it will be somewhere in the vicinity of food or fashion, but since I'm not yet unemployed and getting training, those are just ideas.

One of the reasons I'm really into playing music right now is that it's a way forward. It's not a career, but at least it's a personal way forward. Same with improving my culinary skills and fashion knowledge. I need to know that I'm not standing still, even when it's not the right time to make a leap.

So my LinkedIn profile is like me—a work in progress. With any luck, I'll figure out what I want to do when I grow up at least a few years before I retire. Or maybe I've been doing it all along and just haven't realized it.

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