A client, who is in the midst of transitioning to a new job/industry, was asked by her new employers to submit a bio to share with her colleagues. Her employers gave her some examples, and some of her colleagues, when describing what made them, oh, let’s be generous and say “unique,”cited past exploits such as (I swear to Yahweh): “hunting snow leopards.” Okey dokey. People who “casually” drop information like this into their (cough cough) professional bio make me sad…for them. Clearly they had unhappy childhoods. Their nickname was “It.” They wrote a lot of bad poetry. They felt that no one understood them and their pain…no one but Morrissey. They had a long, drawn out “ugly duckling” phase which finally ended with people saying, “Oh, no, no, you’re very um…striking!” I’m going to assume they had a lot of adversity in their lives, since the alternative is that they’re just insecure assholes. Why not just write how much you can bench press, or your trophy wife’s bra size?
Anyhoo, my client, being a sensitive human, was a wee bit surprised, and/or appalled, by these bios. These bios started to make her feel bad about her own achievements. Oh, hell no! Not on my watch. So when she said, “How do I show up when my victories are internal?,” you know it was on. Because let’s take a moment and acknowledge that all true victories are internal, yes? The human victories that change our lives…these victories aren’t marked by graduating with honors, or a pay raise, or a (paid) shout out tweet from Kim K. (I’m assuming she only tweets without pay, when the conversation is about being peed on..?)
This client, for example, had logged some truly impressive volunteer work over the years. So I asked her to list this work on her LinkedIn profile under “Interests”, with dates and a sentence as to what exactly she did at each organization. Then, I suggested she join the relevant LinkedIn groups, related to each organization and/or the cause they work for…hello, networking! I also suggested she mention, in her “Summary”, her commitment to volunteering, and why it is important.
Because, I know a lot of people always say, “Well, I don’t have any connections; I can’t network.” Um, you better start creating some connections, since, same as it’s ever been: networking is how you get jobs. When articles are coming out in which even career “experts” are going on the record as being increasingly concerned about the destructive toll taken on applicants by the screening software used by most companies to expedite the hiring process…we had all better understand the value of networking. We had all better understand that networking is life. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304821304577436172660988042.html
Networking anywhere and everywhere. I personally have networked clients at the gym, in line at Starbucks, on the phone when ordering clothing. It’s a little thing I like to do called, “interacting with other humans, who aren’t the cats.” I recently was on the receiving end of someone’s double-standard and criticism for networking in a bar–wow, humans talking in a bar…crazy! I should have been home, putting on petticoats,and wearing a bonnet, I guess.–but that demonstrates their ignorance, not mine.
My point being: volunteering is an EXCELLENT way to gain new skills, help out a cause which matters to you…and, OMG, meet people who can help you in your job search. OMG ponies!!11!! (Carlota: you are so brilliant. And fun. And sexy.) So…you walk shelter dogs for the ASPCA? Awesome, put it on your LinkedIn profile. You never know whom you might meet who is also a dog person, and rescued a shelter dog and has a soft spot for people who help shelter animals…and is hiring. I’d say put almost anything on your LinkedIn profile…except the bit about hunting snow leopards. Keep that to yourself, Papa Hemingway.
And if you’d like some more advice about how to dress up your LinkedIn profile, holla @ me: firstname.lastname@example.org!