The LinkedIn Problem

North Korean Generals Endorsing Eachother If you get it you get it

The LinkedIn Problem

My stance on social media differs from platform to platform. To look into what I feel about each one I’d have to write about them individually. This is the first article of them all. I’m taking on a big one that’s hardly criticised on news and media, LinkedIn.

Problem I have with LinkedIn is that its paints a very dishonest picture of the individual, the experiences they have with the places they work at. Sometimes its a bit of a exercise ego and a whole new kind of corporate circle jerk. There’s nothing inherently right or wrong about it, but it bothered me enough that I might delete my own LinkedIn profile by the end of the year.

Why I started LinkedIn Profile

Typical answer for this from someone on LinkedIn would say something along the lines of, “I wanted to share my career story to inspire the next generation of young people to build their professional career” (Not going to cite this one cause I don’t like to call out names, so I’ve changed the wording a bit to not be able to reverse search). This is assuming that you are up there with the rest of the 1% and want to redistribute the means of production like a proper socialist bernie bro. If you are infact in the 1% then make a real change by investing back into the system, could be as education or business. Besides you’ll make back that money and even more in the process. But lets assume say you’re not in the 1% but would like to be seen as then ofcourse the next best thing is to offer cheap ambiguous career advice on LinkedIn. Thats even less helpful than the Career Advisors in universities.

Unlike most of these people I made an account cause I wanted to get interviews for jobs, more eyes on my profile = more job opportunities, thats the way i saw it. As I used the profile over the years I realised couple of things that made me reconsider.

Data Mining

First one was this, it is nothing more than a massive data mining platform. Because from the moment you first download the app it will ask you for permission to access your contacts. Its not that difficult for me to search my friend’s names and add them to the list. But ofcourse like facebook you are the product. Microsoft is the owner of the platform and they are present in almost all the major and minor economies. I believe this platform is a great tool for them to target business users to their platform of software applications. Its their money, their platform. The benefit you derive from this is completely up to you.

You can use any social media platform to get your product to the market, just see if its the correct platform for your product or service. LinkedIn less apparent to me at this point.

Name dropping

You’ll find a lot of people with all kinds of jargon on their profiles. In the case of tech industry. I’ve met alot of people who proudly wear the latest in-words and parade a form of psudo-intellectualism by quoting some tech. These types of people often go from one managerial position to another, often in big name companies. Remember managers don’t code and has nothing to do with coding, they are often bad managers. You’ll often see things like expert this and that on their profile. They’ll also claim to have 5 years of experience on a framework that just came out last year, unless they built the framework for the last 5 years don’t take their word seriously.

Most young tech people are afraid of speaking up to the managers or supposed seniors because of all these name dropping, because they talk like they know so well about something you just heard. If you encounter this at a public networking session just ask questions see where its going. Its likely the person will pivot or buckle up, its up to you to decide if they’re lying or not. If its at work you’ll just have to be diplomatic about it, or just ignore all together, whichever is your style. but you don’t have to bow down to them. As for you, keep up with the news about what’s out there but don’t get too drowned out by all the jargon and tech. Most of this tech are still unstable for business use cases, but learn the existing tech well.

LinkedIn References

This is something I keep getting, often so I don’t repond to these messages. Please don’t ask anyone to recommend you on a professional level if you’ve never worked together with them on any project. You may have had friendly encounters multiple times with the same person, might also be from the same work place but that doesn’t qualify as actual collaborative work. Its just a bit dishonest.

I’ve seen so many profiles with generic half-arsed references that doesn’t indicate what the actual work was or the project involved. This leads me to the final conclusion that they asked all these people to write something good about them in their profile.

Past Experience and Ageism

Ageism is prejudice on the basis of one’s age. All companies shun ageism like a religious mantra, but their HR always add up the number of years in your profile’s past experience section to make sure you’re not too old or not too young (If you’re young and talented, they’ll make you work for “Exposure/Passion/Experience” with very low unreasonable pay). On LinkedIn you can’t mention the places you’ve worked without mentioning the number of years. What this means is that you’re pretty much giving away all your chips at the poker table. You’ve already reduced your chances of getting invited to the interview.

Past Experience at Top Companies

So how do you get a good first job ? What else connections! People who got their first job in a reputed company through their connections often end up getting better offers for their subsequent job positions. This is just a starting advantage but often wears out fast, because if you mess things up in your current workplace the word kinda gets around fast. So the more you mess up the faster the word goes around. I don’t really care about where they worked before rather look into what they did and how they got over their challenges.

If you’re someone who’s not from an affluent background, don’t let your hopes down. Make sure to build good connections with people you encounter, leave a good impression. It will help you build up your career. Honest work always builds better foundation.

Why I believe credentials aren’t everything (Especially in IT)

Credentials are proof of identity and certifications (Oxford Thesaurus). The reason why I bring this up is because I’ve seen profiles that would put some fortune 500 CEO’s to shame. Most of what I’m sharing here are in the context of Tech Industry.

If I am being honest about myself I was never the person who gave much time to education instead I spent more time tinkering with tools and electronics, I often just sat for my exams based off what I remember from lectures, Sometimes that’s all I ever needed, and sometimes I got good marks for the subjects that I cared the least than the ones I actually studied for. This isn’t some weird flex on whoever’s reading this, I was never a studious person to begin with and I don’t care.

What I am emphasising is its not difficult to get good grades for your subjects in school or university as long as you pay attention and hit the marking criteria. This comes to another part I would like to explain, I’ve met really smart students who doesn’t quite make it to the HD stock. Why? Lot of the times the reason tend to be either they have difficulties in speaking the language or are introverted by nature. Does their introversion make them less dedicated than the ones that get HD’s? I’ve also worked with people in university whom I wouldn’t recommend for any collaborative project, not even to my enemies, not even at the end of a gun barrel. But they manage to make the cut to become HD students.

I believe part of the reason for these outcomes is the human element that we often ignore. This is something I noticed a lot in the HD students. Lot of them maintain close professional relationships with the members of staff. Becuase of the close relationship the staff, the staff members are more attentive to the student’s work and gives more critical feedback that actually help them improve, not only that but they’ll also spend more time marking their papers. We all know all universities and colleges put out official statements along the lines of “Our Staff are Objective and Unbiased”, One day I’ll believe that statement when universities are owned and operated by sentient superintelligent benelovent Ai’s. Shortly : Its not the truth. Humans are flawed creatures and are very subjective.

If you’re young and introverted remember this, Your introversion will play against you, if you’re young take this as advice and make sure to train yourself to be bit more of the opposite. It’ll help you get better grades and better connections. Even if you don’t, remeber credentials aren’t everything. The course you were following isn’t the right one for you.

Am I Salty ?

Maybe, a bit. But I don’t care and I understand that ths is the world I live in and this blog allows me to share bit of my knowledge to help out anyone reading this to have a head start in their careers.

Last But not Least: The LinkedIn Effect

The LinkedIn Effect

You’ve seen this happen right before your eyes, all the Coding Ninjas, Marketing Wizards, Productivity Gurus and Cheif Entertainment Officers. Is your reality this bleak that you decide to put this up on your digital resume?

How I imagine the typical HR would be keying in their search criteria.

Looking for {Insert Popular Language / Framework name} developers with 20+ years experience, below the age of 25 with extensive knowledge in AWS, Azure, Dev-OPS and willing to work weekends for no pay.

Lets have a chat

I would like to get your constructive opinion on this matter. DM me on instagram @LakithK. I reply slow but I will reply.

Research Referenced

  1. Oxford Thesurus
  2. Lots of Past experience
  3. Lots time spent on LinkedIn
  4. Y’know don’t belive everything on the internet do your own research