The Rioja Journals: introducing DYLAN YATES (and his sidekick, Marti)

How to Be Jobless welcomes Dylan Yates to the #Pyjarmy. He’s a jobless writer with a Spanish housemate, a few bottles of cheap red wine and a discussion point. This week: LinkedIn-speak.

200345957-005THE RIOJA JOURNALS: A LinkedIn discussion over the course of a fine, flowing Spanish wine | Dylan Yates

Hello, I’m Dylan. HTBJ has asked me to share my thoughts on LinkedIn, its pros, its cons, and the whys and wherefores littered between.

Being an obliging chap, this is exactly what I shall proceed to do, in the form of discussion with my Catalan housemate over a fashionably inexpensive (Sainsbury’s had a good discount this weekend) bottle of Rioja.

DYLAN: Today’s well-intentioned endeavour to get a strong breakfast and beat a quick path to the library, deliriously eager to begin a day of job seeking, looks to be going the way of most well-intended plans.

I knew when applying to live in this house all those months ago, moving in with two guitarists was never going to be conducive to peaceful nights and rousing dawn choruses.

By this point, the Rioja’s been uncorked, and the grip of the red potion swimming in plastic cups positioned delightfully before me and my housemate has started to take its effect. Any lingering thought of CV and LinkedIn updating swiftly disappears.

Wiping a drop of lipstick-rouge fluid from the side of his mouth, Marti offers his first valid opinion of the day,


Let me explain, my good Catalan housemate. This journey is a necessity for us jobseekers when faced with day upon day of inhabiting a lonely bedroom with leaking windows. Getting out of the house to apply for jobs and write is just as important as that unblemished LinkedIn profile.

“SÍ” he exclaims, nudging the red contents of his cup round and round in a swaying fashion “BUT HOW IMPORTANT, EXACTLY, IS ALL THIS LINKERED-IN UPDATING?”

Good point. Logging into LinkedIn, or ‘Linkered-In’ as you insist on calling it, throws up many challenges.

A quick search through your buddies’ profiles will reveal a globally recognised truth. No-one’s job in LI form looks exactly (nay, remotely) like the ‘real-life’ version of it does.

Take for example Gregory (names switched in an effort to protect the genuinely well-meaning).

Gregory worked in the same office as me for roughly the same amount of time. We were copywriters together; brothers in arms against the tide of SEO CMS B2B jargon that assaulted every day the moral fibre of our sensibilities.

From looking at his profile, however, it’s impossible for me to make head or tail of what exactly it is that Gregory does.

Two things, Marti, that really get my goat, are one; acronyms for the sake of acronyms, and two; LinkedIn euphemisms. Take this, for example:

I’m a delivery-focused professional with B2B knowledge and an awareness of global strategy on an international level. In the past I’ve created a localised platform of ROI and SEO campaign brand awareness in a digital realm to the fullness of productivity and my main goal is to be 5 years from now sitting on the board of a globally-recognised PCP BF4 functioning marketing strategy board for businesses and clients. The fact I can like, eat and dribble on my scrotum at the same time proves I’m the sort of dynamic and passionate man your business needs. Get at me dog.

Yes, OK, I made it up, but believe me, it’s not that dissimilar to what else is going on out there.


I realise this, really I do, Marti. For me, however, as I’m sure it is for all of us jobseekers, personally branding oneself is a very hard thing to do.

“AND WHAT ABOUT GETTING YOUR DREAM JOB, WORKING LIKE ME, IN THE MAGICAL WORLD OF THEATRE?” Marti demands, his brown eyes brimming with passionate fervour.

I understand your meaning. To realise the job of my dreams I need to personalise my LinkedIn profile with relevant keywords. Wanting to work in the world of theatre, for example, leads me to emphasise the benefits of my generally useless BA Arts Degree. I also heavily-modify time spent chasing around the cast of the local Am-Dram society on weekends out in town, and completely fabricate a discernible link between a part time job at 16 years’ old selling shoes and my being appropriate for the role of sound technician on a brand new production in the West End (those shoes needed a whole lot of acoustic treatment and er…um…personal target-setting to be sold. No, really).

In the meanwhile, I need a job just to pay the rent (and, let’s not forget, Marti, to keep me and you in Rioja). By the time I’ve tailored my profile to theatre work, I’m dismissed from the varied world of selling advertising space on Google, and lobbying for a morally dubious legal firm in a shed in East London.

“GO FOR YOUR DREAMS, AND CHASE THEM DESPERATELY, AND WITH ALL YOUR ENERGY,” Marti crows, voice rich with superiority. By this point the bottle of Rioja, cradled lovingly in his arms, is being sucked at regular intervals.

We also need to keep the lights on, though, Marti. I don’t want to count myself out of any reasonable employment while I carve out this exciting new career in theatre.

I’m sure, like you all are, as the weeks turn into months of unemployment-induced haziness, the standard of the jobs you apply for greatly plummets. As the net widens, all those little fishies swimming your way are going to be put off by a LinkedIn profile that screams, “I want to be doing something completely different to shifting insurance premiums”.

“SO IS LINKERED-IN REALLY WORTH IT?” Marti asks, his rich, accented tones heavily slurred.

I think LinkedIn, if used properly, is a great way to make the most of what you want to offer. But if it’s tailored to one specific role, well, possible employers are going to see straight through the statement in your covering letter that gives the impression you’re prepared to dedicate the next 25 years of your life to their insurance sales company.


Well, on this point, I have to agree. As for the euphemisms, and acronym-laced jargon, I get it: You know what’s what in the world of LinkedIn keyword placement. The fact that neither me nor the Catalan fellow currently being sick in the corner of my room can comprehend a word of the nonsense you’re writing leads me to think that, in some cases, plain Inglés should suffice.

For more of Dylan’s musings, you cal follow him on Twitter @dypublishing or check out his blog

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