Should your LinkedIn profile say you’re a consultant?

27 03 2011

There are a lot of people out there looking for opportunities. Many experienced professionals take consulting assignments in order to pay the bills or keep them active in the industry. This is great and many consultants end up receiving job offers from the companies they work for upon completion of their assignments. Others do well and gain valuable experience that builds their resumes and contributes to landing future positions.

What I often notice as I browse LinkedIn profiles is many people in this situation post their current roles and place “Consultant” in the job title. Unless you are a true consultant who wishes to jump from company to company working on special projects do not put Consultant as your job title on LinkedIn. I suggest using the title that would be assigned to the role that you are filling. I’m in no way suggesting that you be at all misleading. I feel that you should include the fact that you are in a temporary role in the details for your position.

My reason for not using the word “Consultant” in your title is that it’s directly going against your reason for updating your profile, assuming you are looking for future full-time employment, is that when staffing professionals search for you on LinkedIn they will often assume that you are seeking future consulting roles.

As with most web-based searches there are weighted elements that are used for quantifying results. In the case of LinkedIn job title is the most heavily weighted. To prove this try doing a LinkedIn search for someone with your exact job title and I’ll bet that you’ll come up in your search. Further evidence can be seen when you conduct a search and your result yields profiles of people who have only included job titles in their profiles. Surely, with over 8,000,000 LinkedIn profiles, your key words would come up in thousands of completely filled out profiles, yet people with job titles matching your search always come up.

If you want to get hired you must think like the people looking to hire. How will they search for you? What words will they choose to find people doing what you want to be doing? Once you’ve thought about it take a second look at the job titles in your profile.

I’d love to hear your opinions regarding this and other post on this blog.

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