Last month my LinkedIn profile consisted entirely of my name, a title for a job I finished last year, and a grand total of 18 connections.
I hadn’t paid any attention to my account until a colleague handed me a newspaper article on the importance of keeping your profile up to date, posting a profile picture and having 500+ connections – especially if you needed to look for a new job.
I immediately updated my resume, copied most of it over to LinkedIn, uploaded a profile pic, hunted down connections under the People You May Know section, all the while madly scouring the internet for LinkedIn tips that would help me find my next awesome job which would ideally be an apprenticeship position as a computer instructor/ photographer / English teacher / tiny house carpenter/writer/step dancer/clock seller on Etsy. I would totally NAIL that interview.
In all seriousness, I wanted that killer LinkedIn profile because I was afraid I might need it soon. Our company’s government contract is up for rebid and we should know any day now what’s next for us all come April 1st.
The part I had the most trouble with was the summary and my job title. Sure, I am a Contracts Support Coordinator now, but I’m more than that. And two months from now if I don’t have that job, what am I then?
I struggled for at least two weeks trying to write that summary, figuring out how to convince potential employers that having had a dozen jobs in a dozen years is a good thing, that there’s a reason why people hire me to do the odd job here and there with little previous experience, and trust I’ll get ‘er done.
And then it came to me – I could be an Odd Job Ninja.
Crazy right? I mean – it’s ridiculous. No one would take me seriously. Who calls themselves a ninja, especially on LinkedIn?
Apparently quite a few. Not only is adding “ninja”, “guru” and “rockstar” to your job title an old trend, even the backlash is dated, although there is still fun to be had in mocking people who make up ridiculous job titles.
I didn’t know about this dated ninja trend when I wrote my super-duper summary and changed my job title on LinkedIn. Nor did I know about it when I emailed Andy Foote to thank him for his brilliant article with examples of stunning LinkedIn summaries and for inspiring me to leap into my new career path as an Odd Job Ninja.
Imagine my embarrassment just hours after emailing Andy when I discovered that throwing around “ninja” as a job title was not only unprofessional, it was unoriginal. Bad ninja, bad!
I lived with my embarrassment for a couple of days and then decided what the hell, just have fun with it. Obviously I am not a ninja, a guru nor a rockstar. I’m just someone with an odd collection of job experiences who is trying to make the most of being a generalist rather than a specialist in the job market. Plus I also like the alliteration of odd+job+ninja. It just rolls off the tongue, don’t you think?
Since then I’ve started a dozen Odd Job Ninja projects that should lead to new skills and connections provided I don’t blow anything up or scare people off with my enthusiasm. I will blunder about and most certainly embarrass myself along the way, but I promise to share the gory details here, whether it’s learning to Mod Podge my motorcycle, building a website for expat Labradorians or how to teach Zumba without passing out.
As for LinkedIn, I have made some progress since last month: I’m now at 278 connections, a handful of endorsements and one unsolicited recommendation (thank you Dave Palendat!). If I ever want Blogging and Carpentry to beat out Procurement and Purchasing in the endorsement race then I’ve got some work ahead of me. And that’s ok because with every new thing I learn, I’m also going to have some fun too; it’s just how we ninjas roll.
Thank you Susan Murphy for the great course on writing for the web, and especially for helping me make a couple of connections afterwards. And thank you Mom for showing us it’s never too late to learn and grow and change. We are so proud of you.