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LinkedIn and Curating Your Career

Duncan Parry, COO of STEAK, began his career in search in 1999 at Lycos, during the early days of the industry.

In 2002 he joined PPC engine Espotting and rose to the position of Agency Editorial Manager, working on campaigns for some of Europe's leading brands. He left Espotting in 2004 to work as a consultant in both paid and natural search, during which time his clients included publisher VNU's portfolio of UK IT, finance and recruitment websites.

In 2005 he reunited with ex-Espotting colleagues to found STEAK. His roles at the agency have spanned PPC, SEO and Insight, as well commenting and writing in trade press for the agency, and contributing to STEAK’s social presence.

Last week I wrote about Facebook's timeline and how a similar functionality on LinkedIn could help companies showcase themselves to potential clients and employees. This got me thinking about the role of LinkedIn in recruitment and as an online CV.

It's great to list your jobs, responsibilities and achievements on the site but it's beginning to feel a little…linear; a reflection of the nature of a printed CV, and not a fully "digital" representation of an individual's career.

Don't get me wrong – LinkedIn are a company I admire. They've created a niche of their own, grown impressively, developed strong B2B revenue streams and navigated the minefields of being a start-up and the hype of social to launch a successful IPO. They've no significant challengers for marketshare (at least in the West).

Having a digital CV is relevant to most careers. Many of us attend conferences and end up writing about our industries in blogs, for industry publications and contributing quotes to articles, buying guides etc. Many of us have columns on third party sites. We can add links to some of these to our LinkedIn/Twitter or other profiles, and individual articles can be shared on our social platforms. Not just in digital marketing, but in industries as diverse as payment processing to even management, there's content being produced every minute.

But it is all…fleeting. Status updates and posts surface and then disappear beneath the digital waves. Publications, websites, columns, blogs, they all come and go – and we're often left without a copy of the final, published version of that blog, white paper or article that we are proud of, or of any other body of work that led us to where we are today, and up to the day we next look for a new role.

There are services where you can create a profile of yourself – like About.me but they’re just a jumping off point to profiles on other sites; there's no curating (and caching) of individual articles. You could build your own website, copy everything you write there and link to the original (been there, tried that: got better ways to spend my spare time) and various other "personal archive" services have come and gone (and no doubt there are others now I don't know about).

This is an opportunity for LinkedIn in my (outsider's) opinion. LinkedIn is the place people default to when researching an individual's career. They've already got the audience – it's an added piece of functionality; something in a content box on the individual's profile linked to a page/tab that, timeline-esq, shows articles etc. over time, and displays a cached copy if the original source is offline (from the Wayback machine, maybe?).

Think of it as your career archive, or digital portfolio – the place you can always find that blog post or white paper you wrote four years ago that suddenly seems prescient for the interview next week. That's a valuable service – and one I'd happily pay an annual fee for. Career curation is here to stay, and could be an opportunity for LinkedIn – or one way a competitor challenges them.

By Duncan Parry, COO, STEAK

@STEAKLondon

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