Tuesday 17 February 2015

Mister In-Between

Job histories get padded and may boost your professional image.

This is okay.

Heck, embrace it. It's a fact of life, and a natural thing everyone wants to do in order to best promote themselves and their own achievements when looking at increasing their appeal during the job hunt. This is okay and generally it's acceptable - you're in the habit of self-promotion, not necessarily explaining in depth how good all the other team members were, because you're selling yourself and not them.

Let's call it self-marketing, which it is, and be happy that we eliminate the negatives and latch on to the positive. But, where is the moral line in how aggressively and accurately you do this?

LinkedIn has cracked this shell open to a degree and now you can see what others write about their work history and share to the world in general. Traditionally these details were wrapped up on a CV you'd never see and what a fascinating thing it is.

When reading through updates on LinkedIn, I find it a little disconcerting watching some ex-colleagues flat out lie about a previous role or position. Even stranger is seeing people who worked for me, in a junior role, using my own job description as their own for the time they were with our company - which is flat out wrong and a gross misrepresentation.

Does it impact me directly? Not one bit, so there's no envy or frustration about others fluffing their professional image. Do I find it uncomfortable watching these lies, untruths and perhaps even generously "misremembering events" being written as unassailable fact? Yes, yes I do.

But maybe this does have an indirect impact and I remain unaware. If a potential client sees that Bob was in the same role as me, but had a terrible experience with Bob, will that tarnish their opinion of me operating in that role - and encourage them to look elsewhere rather than consider my services?

I suppose my frustration comes from the fact there's nothing that can be done about it - even if you managed to convince LinkedIn to remove an entry, all the CVs still go out with the same information, it simply crawls back into its shell, no longer exposed to the public eye. It's there, people have done this since the dawn of the professional résumé, and will continue to be there until the end of days.

But, does anyone care?