What You Put On Your LinkedIn Profile Vs. Reality, Because No One Really Has 56 Special "Skills"
I'm a little bit of a LinkedIn addict. Yes, in the wide range of things one can be addicted to, LinkedIn is probably not the most hip option — but, hey, I like to dabble in a little self-promotion here and there, what can I say? At least I'm honest with myself; I'm also glad I'm not one of those people on reality TV who's addicted to, say, eating drywall. But that's a topic for another day. By now, most adults have participated in the exaggerated, often phony realm of social media for a decade or so. We all get how it works. Whether you go over the top on your Facebook posts about how you're "like, so incredibly thankful to accept a job at *insert any job here*" (I've done it too), or you just fudge things a little on Instagram, we all are demonstrating the same thing: Social media is not real life.
But LinkedIn? A constantly-updatable online resume? We would never dare to exaggerate there, would we? Of course not. We're honest people when it comes to matters of landing a one-day job that will pay for our rent, and connecting with "colleagues" who may or may not sometimes be complete strangers. But let's face it, guys, resumes — whether the old-fashioned paper variety or your LinkedIn profile — are all about hyperbole. They're shining portraits of our professional selves that are often not 100 percent in tune with reality. And, come on, guys, we know you don't really speak Spanish. Let's have a moment of honesty now, shall we?
LinkedIn Profile: You Have Roughly 1,043 Special "Skills." YOU ARE GOOD AT EVERYTHING.
To the general public, you are a wiz at a variety of things. Hell yes, you can make some graphics in InDesign. You can choose a trendy font with the best of them. Can you casually code a website? Of course you can. Mark Zuckerberg has nothing on you. You are far too serious to ever wear a hoodie in a professional setting, anyway. You have 23 endorsements, so yes, let it BE KNOWN: You are knowledgeable about basically everything. You are a rockstar, just waiting for a job to fall into your highly-skilled lap.
Reality: You Ask Yourself, "Have I Done That Before? Even Once?" And Answer, "Yup, I Will Add It."
HTML? "Hm. Let's go with yes." Photoshop? "I've heard of that." Leadership? "Well, that's kind of vague so DUH." Powerpoint? "Ok. I can actually do that. Don't even get me started on Word Art guys. I am masterful." Microsoft Office? "HELL YES!" Excel? "People don't actually use Excel anyway, right?" Email? "DEFINITELY yes." Oh — and then there's my personal favorite, social networking. "Check, check, and CHECK. Gosh, I am SO getting a job after this."
LinkedIn Profile: You Have "Limited Working Profiency" In A Foreign Language
I mean, you took AP Spanish for crying out loud, you are practically a native speaker by now. Nevermind that you haven't spoken any of the language for four years now. No one cares about actual ability as much as how it looks listed on a resume. Well-roundedness above EVERYTHING.
Reality: You Once Ordered A Beer And Some Chips In Spanish On Vacation Once
We all know the truth. Spring Break 2009 and the Facebook photo album entitled "la playa and cervezassssssss <3" is not a legitimate excuse for saying you can speak another language. Although, yes, knowing how to order alcohol in any other language can be, in fact, extremely helpful.
LinkedIn Profile: You Belonged To A Handful Of Obscure Clubs From College
How impressive are you. Wow. You had the time to go to over 20 clubs consistently throughout college all while going to class and having the time to take shots four out of seven nights of the week. You are a miracle, really. A very, very involved miracle.
Reality: "Well, I Went To That One Meeting. There Was Pizza, I Think."
OK, maybe you feel guilty about listing a club if you only went to one meeting. But if you went to three or more, oh — it is going on LinkedIn. And why shouldn't it, right? You ate the free pizza. You (partially) listened to upperclassmen talk about how they manage internships and school. You were present. Physically.
LinkedIn Profile: You Use A Lot Of Words Like "Strive" And "Aim" And "Desire" And "Execute," And Are Generally Very Fancy
On your LinkedIn profile, you ARE that tiny penguin with a tiny briefcase and and tiny top hat. You are the fanciest. Of course, we all know that people who use only professional language are the ONLY ones who succeed in the world. OK, ignore Kim Kardashian. You need a REAL JOB. An ADULT JOB. Jobs with meetings and goals and a boss who calls you into their office to casually "talk strategy." Therefore, you speak only in phrases like "eager to succeed" and "team player" and "expertise." Obviously.
Reality: You Can't Remember The Last Time You Said Those Words Outloud
Really, think with me for a second: When was the last time you "strived" (or is it strove...OK, see what I mean?) to do anything exactly? Remember last week when you were focused on "executing" that trip to Chipotle? I mean, have you really had a "desire" to be part of a hardworking team? Can we just all remember group projects in college? Yes, OK. You get my point.
LinkedIn Profile: You Sell Your Study Abroad Trip As A Career-Building Life Experience
International sensibilities! Travel skills! Language proficiency (we've already been over that one, guys...)! The ability to adjust to change! Woo! You are an international superstar!
Reality: You Drank Cheap Beer For Six Weeks And Learned The Weak Value Of The American Dollar
You spent most of your time abroad marveling at the cheap cost of beer and debating with your friends still at home how, "No, like, things really ARE better in Europe." You drank pretty much every night but, hey, you only blacked out once, so it's cool — you were still able to take Instagram shots in front of all major monuments in Europe. You did your job.
LinkedIn Profile: You Are The Adobe Creative Suite Master Extraordinaire
To the general public, you can design with the best of them. I mean, wow, all those skills AND the ability to moonlight as a graphic designer. Amazing. The modern renaissance man/woman.
Reality: "Yeah, I Did That Once."
I mean, Adobe Creative Suite...Microsoft Office...same difference, right?
LinkedIn Profile: Your Personal Blog Is A "Creative Outlet That Displays Your Breadth Of Both Digital And Journalistic Ability"
You basically run your own website. You handle that entire thing all on your own. Look at you go. You probably designed it yourself too, right? With all of those Adobe Creative Suite skills, why wouldn't you? Basically you don't need any help. On anything. Ever. Maybe you'll just hire yourself.
Reality: You Got A Tumblr In High School. You Still Have That Tumblr.
I mean, it's kind of just too convenient that the same source you use to reblog artsy photos of plants with Sylvia Plath quotes on them is also something you can also put on your LinkedIn. "It really shows what I'm passionate about," you will think.
LinkedIn Profile: LinkedIn Asks "Do You Have Any Volunteer Experience?"
Well, this is pretty straight forward.
Reality: You Don't.
OK. In this case, I personally draw the line at exaggerating about helping other people. The reality is I'm just busy and lazy, I guess. And honestly, I'm mostly just bitter that LinkedIn keeps asking me about my now-apparent lack of compassion for humanity. No, LinkedIn, I haven't seriously volunteered at anywhere recently. Yes, I am a terrible person. Am I the reason that people are starting to think society is mostly evil? Probably, yes. I get it. You can stop reminding me now. Off to go not volunteer more. Maybe club some baby seals casually. Who knows? OK bye.
LinkedIn Profile: LinkedIn Asks "Do You Have Any Special Certifications?"
Really, more questions? OK, LinkedIn. Enough already.
Reality: "WTF, I Need That Too?"
At this point, you've already convinced yourself you can speak Spanish conversationally, that the two games of intramural racquet ball you played were considered extracurricular activities, and that most things you do in life are really just you "striving" and "aiming" to become a more successful human being. And now they're asking you for certifications? You consider lying. But, again, you're mostly just bitter. Thanks, LinkedIn. Thanks for nothing.
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