The question of how to deal with this was posed to a Globe and Mail career coach by someone whose boss was pressuring him to change his LinkedIn profile when he didn’t really want to. I was surprised by the answer to the question and would be interested in hearing what others think.
But first, some context: The employee in question had gone from being self-employed to a full-time employee of a company. He intended to continue consulting with non-corporate clients – with his employer’s knowledge and blessing – and didn’t want to confuse the roles. Basically, it sounds like he didn’t really want his online professional persona to list his new job above his history of self-employment (and his related expertise and reputation).
Fair enough, but should his new boss get a say in what he puts on his LinkedIn profile and when?
No way, José, was my first thought. It’s just like a resume. It just happens to live online and, regardless of the reason, no one gets to dictate what someone else puts on there. Not a boss, not a client, no one. (Okay, maybe your business partner would have a reason to complain if you represent the company as entirely your own, but let’s not quibble.)
But maybe that’s my fiercely independent streak talking. In any case, the career coach suggested several things in his response:
- Not to worry so much about other people’s perceptions of full-time employment vs. consulting. (Fair enough, but easy for him to say.)
- Be clear about how you want your work – current, past, potential future – represented. (Absolutely.)
- Ask why the new boss is so concerned about this. (That would be my first question.)
- Be open to compromising with the new boss. (I’m still not so sure about that.)
Do you think your employer should have a say in what’s in your online professional profile?