My Cookies Didn’t Come From a Cutter: A Small Issue with LinkedIn

This is just a quick observation as it is actually a nice day and I’d like to get my fish-belly white self outside with my daughter.

LinkedIn: The Good

The business-themed social media network LinkedIn is a very good idea. I love the fact you can find and catch-up with former workplace acquaintances and make new connections while getting your credentials out there. I love the fact it is another way to build relationships through technology.

LinkedIn: The Bad?

But what happens if you have an untraditional resume? What if you are someone who held down two part-time jobs and did a lot of interesting volunteer work simultaneously? Or what if you were such a keen and hyper-caffeinated oddity that you held a full-time and a part-time job at the same time? (Guilty as charged.)

There isn’t really a way to make that comprehensible in LinkedIn’s format without a rambling explanation in the summary box. It would be nice if there were a bit more flexibility or customization possible.

But Don’t Blame LinkedIn, Look to HR Practices

That said, I realize it isn’t LinkedIn’s fault as much as the accepted practices of HR these days. Sometimes a human doesn’t even see your resume, which means if you don’t have the standard “normal” progression of events on your resume, a machine will kick you to the curb as it doesn’t allow you a chance to explain why you deviate.

So, Who Can Play?

And that’s an issue worth noting because, as mentioned in a recent article on by Chuck Hester, corporate communications director for iContact:

“LinkedIn has become the default location for CVs and resumes, to the point where recruiters, partners or clients may search LinkedIn for your credentials and stop there. (And if you’re not there, you won’t look like a player.)”

So does that mean those of us who have lead vaguely unusual lives can’t play?


4 comments so far

  1. Ironic on

    It’s interesting because LinkedIn has not reached the academic or education world.
    There was a question put forward about whether or not we should use LinkedIn to look for teachers, but many principals, administrators, and teachers hate it. This is partially due to the criteria looked at to get a job in education.
    I would think the same would go for theatre which has (in most cases) an unorthodox resume.

    Don’t forget:

  2. abbymartin on

    Hey Ironic.

    Welcome back- I’ve missed your blog so I am really happy to see you posting!

    Can you elaborate a little about why the criteria to use LinkedIn is a bad fit for academia? I’m curious now!

  3. Mike Bekiaris on

    I was putting a few things in place in my own profile a few days ago. I had two student terms at World’s Finest Chocolate in IT and wasn’t sure if I should put it in twice. In the end I decided to put my most recent term in and then use the summary box to add the detail that I had an additional four month term. Was this the right way to do it? I’d probably get a ‘yes’ from some and a ‘no’ from others.

  4. LinkedIn newby on

    You’re certainly right about the cookie-cutterness. What if you give awards? What if your business doesn’t fit into their categories? What if you’re far enough along that your previous job doesn’t matter? All of which is to say, that you’d think that their forms-creation skills would be a little less primitive….

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