Don’t Worry, Be Happy: Why Having a Well-Written LinkedIn Profile Won’t Upset Your Boss

If you’re worried that presenting your abilities and experience in the most professional way possible on your LinkedIn profile will be taken badly by your boss, don’t. Here’s why.

I had this thought after having been approached by a young man after a CV-writing course I gave last month. He started off by explaining to me how much he liked his job, how as a foreign worker in Norway he felt lucky to have it, how he had learned a lot while at his company. And…? As I started wondering where all this job happiness was leading, he lowered his voice and glanced nervously about, saying that despite all this he really wanted to leave and find something new and more challenging. No problem, I replied, and asked him if he had a LinkedIn profile. Hearing that he did and yet that the information there was outdated, I advised that he set about updating that information as soon as possible. Oh no, I can’t do that, he answered, because I’m afraid my boss will see it and suspect that I want to leave.

A modern-day social media dilemma faced by many workers: improve your profile and risk management suspicion? Leave as is and avoid said suspicion yet be dissatisfied with the non-result? I had the feeling that this particular course participant was, after his incredibly long opening, actually looking to me for an answer as to what he should do, as he felt truly trapped by the fear of creating trouble at work. (Which I didn’t mind at all, as in my experience the opposite usually happens: what might sound like somebody asking you a question is actually somebody making a comment. Anyway…)

I told him the answer at the top of my mind and which I repeat here. Sometimes we have a tendency to ‘make a mountain out of a molehill’ (note to self: look up origin of that strange idiom). In this case he didn’t have to worry about improving his ‘online CV’ (as LI profiles have been called), because his presence on the site can be used for two other useful purposes:

  • The new digital business card; when meeting other professionals at networking events, instead of trading traditional cards (where do all of these end up, anyway?), ask the other person if you can find them on LinkedIn. Sure, they reply, and just like that you’ve grown your professional network. What boss wouldn’t be happy about that?
  • Professional groups; you go onto Interests at the top of your profile page and type in your area of intrigue. Different suggestions appear, and you ask to join a group of your choosing. And just like that, you’ve grown your professional knowledge/skills. What boss wouldn’t be happy about that?

We finished off our chat by my assuring him (and now you) that I wasn’t encouraging his being deceitful, not by any means. Of course, you have to be discreet about looking around for something else, doing so on your own time and not at work. Yet you shouldn’t feel that you have to ‘hide your light under a bushel’ (note: same as above) while doing so. Rather, putting in well-written terms what you do/have done at work can only help you and your company/organization shine together in ways from which you both benefit. Who wouldn’t be happy about that?

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