basic skills

I think I’ve said before that I am not really interested in all the ‘social media’ sites, but that I do maintain a LinkedIn profile. As well as current and past positions, there’s space to include a summary, experience, qualifications etc. – all the usual CV type information.

I recently got an email from them asking:

Do you have skills that people are looking for? Every skill you add to your profile makes you easier to find.

Which is all very well, but it goes on to suggest that I might want to add ‘writing’ as a skill on my profile:

LinkedIn message: writing: 1,194,475 people have this skill; 6% increase over last year

I find their claim that 1,194,475 people have the skill of writing disconcerting. I don’t know how many people are registered on LinkedIn, but there are over half a million in my own extended network, so the total number must be huge. I’m not sure whether they are suggesting that those who haven’t explicitly said they can write are actually illiterate.

Nor am I impressed by the fact that the figure is 6% up on last year. I’m pretty certain that literacy rates are not really increasing, and suspect that people are now claiming ‘writing’ as a skill where in the past it was a given.

In my last year at university, when I compiled my first CV, I had no work experience so I added hobbies to try and pad it out. (I included ‘reading’ and carried a copy of Camus’ l’Étranger to all my interviews, on the off-chance someone would ask what I was reading at the time. No one did, but it helped foster a habit of reading in French and gave me a linguistic confidence that far outweighed my formal language skills.)

I suspect that most of the people who specifically include ‘writing’ as a skill on their cv do so because it’s a hobby rather than because they are professionals. Any good writer knows the importance of ‘show don’t tell’, and it would be far more useful to give some samples of written works. Thanks to hypertext, this is perfectly feasible for an on-line profile.

My profile description is: “writer and translator”, and the profile includes plenty of examples of the type of writing I do, and the publications and companies I’ve written for; it even contains a link to this blog.

If people don’t realise that means I have writing as a skill, I think they have basic reading comprehension problems.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

4 thoughts on “basic skills”

  1. You don’t think that having a GSOH is a marketable skill? I’d love to employ people based on their ability to take a joke. Imagine how in demand they’d be in governmental positions as well.
    Drink-making? That’s definitely a transferrable, and highly valuable, skill. Especially after you get people who say they don’t know how to make a black coffee.


    1. I think it’s the public who need the sense of humour to deal with the government.

      Humour, like writing skills, is something you can demonstrate: at my first job, one woman had listed her hobbies as “rugby, football, basketball, white-water rafting… – spectator.” Our boss admitted it had influenced him in her favour. (Luckily for him, he didn’t have to share the office with her!)


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