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April 24, 2018

What your LinkedIn headline means to me

Montage of linkedin headlines that came up in search

mix of headlines and profile pictures

I like people who talk about themselves. It’s more interesting than politics, or academic philosophy. Let me know what you’re doing, what you’re struggling with, what your dreams are, and I can see whether we can help each other.

Now, increasingly, more and more LinkedIn titles are meaningless. They are philosophical sales pitches that tell me nothing other than ,”I waste too much time reading advice from life coaches.”

Here are some good titles:

  • Plumber specialising in ancient buildings and copper pipes.
  • Web designer specialising in creating small blogs for universities and SMEs.
  • Chauffeur
  • French teacher at Paramus High School
  • freelance bricklayer
  • trainee hairdresser at Snippets

The more “boring” the title, the more useful it usually is.

All of those titles tell me what your skills are, experience, and where you’d be a good fit in an organisation. The more “boring” the title, the more useful it usually is.

Now, when we have obscure titles, or those that can’t be pinned to a job role, what does it usually tell employers?

  • Rich sheik who is not looking for work
  • Indecisive jobseeker who doesn’t know what she wants to do
  • Insecure person who won’t admit to their current job
  • Life coach who is uninterested in salaried work
  • Person who reads too much self-help and can’t think for themselves

So, you might ask, why I put “project manager” rather than “film producer” or “film director” or “writer/director?”

Well, part of the reason is because I’m seriously considering changing industry. I have been since the day I graduated. The second most advertised job is “project manager” and after reading the description, it describes what I do a lot of the time. (Even though I run my own business, and can call myself anything I want.) Another is that I don’t want to read any more second rate screenplays, or receive any more second rate portfolios from wannabe composers, or headshots from amateur actors, or worse still, pitches from someone who attended a webinar or won a short film festival and thinks they know everything.

If I call myself a “filmmaker” then a lot of amateurs will share their ideas with me and want to make short films on weekends. Films that would make me lose money, and would not be fun for me, and would take me away from my family. Absolutely no ROI in that. If I call myself a project manager, I’ll bore the wannabes, and only serious people who already have money to hire me will approach me. And, here’s a secret, I prefer real work to weekend “fun” work.

So, what about screenwriter? Again, that attracts wannabees of the worst kind, PINOs and DINOs. Line producers who think of themselves as producers (producers in name only) and people who call themselves directors because they want to sit in a deck chair and shout “cut” and “action.” These people don’t understand that real films involve years of hard work and millions of dollars (or at least hundreds of thousands), but they know they “need” a script. Well, if you don’t realise the value of a script, or the amount of work and skill that goes into one, then I don’t have one for you.

Of course, what about investors? There’s the rub. When my film is ready for investors, or distributors, my job title will magically change to indicate that.  Or, I’ll look for them off of LinkedIn.

Basically, your job title should say, in as few words as realistically possible, what you want and what you have to offer. It doesn’t need to mean something to everyone, only to the people who can benefit from your services and can afford to pay you. So, if you’re an expensive UX engineering thingamadoody, you don’t need to explain your job to an eight year old who can’t afford to pay your salary.

Okay, this is just my opinion, you’re entitled to yours.

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