Here are a few questions for those of you with more than two letters after your name:
How many letters do you have after your name that are relevant to what you do now?
Are these letters recognizable to the average person?
Do you use these credentials to do exactly what you want to do in your career?
Was your training academic or was it focused on a specific career or business goal?
Did you feel it was necessary to have the certifications and training to do or provide services doing what you love?
How many “Add to Cart” trainings have you purchased and never completed or implemented? (You know the ones I mean – they state a value of $499 and are slashed to $59)
How much of what you’ve learned through your certifications and training have provided a step by step structure or format to follow for you to feel confident in offering your services to others?
Are you still struggling to figure out how to put all your training and education together with clarity and focus?
If any of these questions resonate with you, you are not alone. There are many professionals who do not lack certifications, training, or academics. However, as I have been looking over many LinkedIn profiles over the past several weeks, I’ve noticed a distinct lack of direction and focus even though there does not seem to be a lack education and experience on the profile.
The confusion for me is that there are often more than one industries listed and a lack of clarity with regard to whether they are networking with others in their profession, selling a service or a product, or seeking employment. I had more than one and have since taken the extraneous industry off my profile.
The overall feeling of the profile imparts a lack of enthusiasm, joy or even interest in who they are and/or what they are offering. In many profiles, there is a distinct feeling of Career ADD going on. Are you on LinkedIn now reviewing your profile?
LinkedIn profiles are only one symptom of the confusion pervasive among professionals with many letters, training and education. This is not by any means meant to minimize the time and effort it takes to complete the trainings associated with these letters. However, it does point often to a lack of focus in how they are applied in the real world.
In conversations with professionals, some have told me that they perceive the letters will make them more marketable. Others feel compelled to accrue more and more training to feel worthy, when in fact there continues to be a lack of purpose or direction that actually prevents some from moving forward. The amount of money some have put into their training and education that will never be used can be staggering.
Here are some tips if any of the above relates to you:
For LinkedIn Profiles – start by reading your profile from a neutral reader’s perspective. What are your feelings about this person? Do you know with certainty what is being communicated to the public about you?
Then pick one area you want to focus on and clean up any non-related information such as listing a job, experience, or industry that has nothing to do with what you are trying to communicate.
Review all the letters you have after your name in your signature line and pick only those that represent who you are and what you love doing. Even if PhD does not relate to doing what you love in your work or with what you are offering as a service, do not include it. Those of us who use services only want to see relevant training and experience – it may seem to offer you credibility, but in truth, it looks like you spent a lot of time on an education that does not relate to your present goals. My own master’s program was as relevant when I got it as it is to what I do today. I’ve had dozens of trainings since then, relate to what I’m doing today.
If you are unclear, be honest and take the time necessary to soul-search or work with a professional to help you identify the work that will lead to real career happiness.
Be prepared to let go of what truly does not work for you, make you happy or represent who you are inside and out to the public. Clarity and focus in this regard will help you stand out from the pack. Your exuberance will shine through on your profile, in your marketing and in everything you do related to your career.
Shell Mendeson, MS, of www.passiontocareer.com is a veteran Career Counselor and specialize in Career ADD. She has over 22 years experience in the field of Vocational and Career Counseling. Her client base reaches Teens through Retirees, Midlife Career Changers, Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs. She has leveraged her own diagnosed ADD and formal training with a dynamic program entitled The Passion To Career System, a program that is flexible enough to reach even the most disorganized and/or distracted thinker, to focus on defining a dynamic career filled with passion, possibility, growth and financial rewards.
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