LinkedIn: Your Portable Portfolio

There have been a couple of good posts about LinkedIn this week. If you aren’t currently on LinkedIn (shuddering in horror), here’s a good primer … “7 Ways to Get More Out of Linkedin,” which is posted on Mashable.

And the FP Executive Blog has a great post on LinkedIn taglines. Taglines are incredibly important and vastly under-valued. Boring is out, inviting is in. Remember, when you’re standing with a crowd, you’re blending in. Separating yourself from the crowd will get you noticed. The tagline “CFO” or “Chief Financial Officer” will, because its commonality, push you into the crowd in any keyword search.

What was distressing to me about this post was this reality:

John Smith: Looking for work

This gentleman lost his job title and in the process, he also lost his identity. Looking for work might be “what” he is doing, but is NOT “who” he is. It is not “who” any job seeker is. Your value is much greater than your job title.

And this tagline …

John Smith: Business Strategy Executive and Visionary exploring new opportunities

is forcing me to evangelize. This is definitely a more positive statement, but it is still broadcasting a message I personally don’t believe belongs in a tagline. Remember, the most attractive candidate is “still” the one who is passive. Don’t trade “hearing” about new opportunities (as a passive candidate) for “exploring” new opportunities (as an unemployed candidate).

A recent article about the future of finance careers by Kate O’Sullivan at is a must read for finance executives. Here’s one of the key points from that article:

As the economy has begun to stabilize in recent months, however, the market for finance talent has showed signs of thawing. "We're going to see more voluntary turnover where CFOs are going to say, 'I helped my company get through this, and now I'd like to move on to my longer-term objectives,' which might be moving to a bigger company, moving to a CEO role, or maybe deciding it's time to retire," says Walter Williams, a partner at executive search firm Battalia Winston International. Wilson says some finance chiefs will likely look for operating roles as well.

Because you hold the most power NOW, while you are still employed, it is imperative that you build out your digital footprint and your network to facilitate your ability to secure your longer-term goals … and to stand out from your competition. Are you digitally distinct? Or, digitally dead? And what does your LinkedIn tagline tell the world about you?

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4 thoughts on “LinkedIn: Your Portable Portfolio”

  1. “…the most attractive candidate is “still” the one who is passive…”
    Six months ago I was pounding the table with that message. But I stopped after hearing so many experts and job-seekers alike expound about how much great talent is in transition, how hiring managers love “go-getters” – which in this context seems to mean job-seekers being both creative and persistent to attract and hold their attention – and the like.
    Recently a friend even told me a headhunter said to him in a critical tone of voice, “I had the impression you weren’t active” (meaning, as a job seeker). His apologetic reply was yes, he has been very actively job seeking. (His interlocutor was a contingency recruiter, though, so her perspective might be the opposite of most hiring managers.)
    Here’s how I addressed these questions back when I still felt certain it’s self-destructive to broadcast that you’re unemployed.
    Our Take: Be Visible, Not Desperate (Mar 20 2009)
    Should You Billboard Yourself in Cyberspace? (Mar 10 2009)

  2. Thanks for your comments … and links, Jon.
    I agree that there has never been more unemployed talent available, and yet, recruiters still tell me that companies do not pay them to present unemployed candidates (that’s a direct quote in fact). While you can still certainly find a position while you are unemployed, the reality is still that you hold the most power while you are sitting inside looking out, rather than outside looking in.

  3. Hi Cindy,
    Excellent points in your article. I’m constantly amazed how little thought and effort is put in to one’s LinkedIn profile. For most people, the LinkedIn profile is the sum total of their web marketing presence.
    While I absolutely agree that the tagline requires thought and care, I think it is one item of a laundry list of items that need to be addressed; including avatar photo, completed job record, and actively managing your connections.
    Guy Kawasaki had a great blog post a few years ago that super relevant in managing your profile:
    I recently wrote a two part blog post on how to conduct a job search, how to tell your current employer you are leaving and how to leave gracefully at:

  4. Thanks for your comments, Robert. I totally agree. As a portable portfolio, what you portray and how completely, is critically important. I’ve blogged about this many, many times! I just can’t seem to help myself … I consider it “that” important!


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