When I went through Marine Corps Boot Camp (I still can’t help but capitalize it), in what sometimes seems another life altogether, my Drill Instructors had a rich supply of curses they would shout at of us. My platoon consisted of around 80 guys from all over the country and we all shared one thing when we started – we were terrified.
In thinking about it, I guess that’s not quite true. At first, the first five days or so, we were still the same guys that stepped off the bus, shuffled across the sidewalk, and put our feet on painted yellow footprints. We’d come from the airport, a trip that lasted somewhere around twenty minutes, and during those moments each of us spoke only in tight whispers – and that sparingly – but it wasn’t fear. More the kind of feeling you get when you step into a somber place you’re unfamiliar with. After we arrived at MCRD (Marine Corps Recruit Depot) and filed off the bus each of us stood on those footprints, row after row, and formed our platoon for the first time. All this happened as a guy in a flat-brimmed “hat” threw curses, spittle flying this way and that, and yelled for us to hurry. But still, we weren’t afraid. It wasn’t quite denial. More like ignorance, I think. We just didn’t get it. But that’s another story altogether.
The point here is that about a week later, when we were terrified, one of our D.I.’s trademark shouts was calling us, “the Burger King Generation.” And while it wasn’t exactly elegant, I got what he was saying – we wanted it our way. Or, more fundamentally, each of came to the Marines with self at the center. It was all about us.
Which, finally, brings me to my true point: LinkedIn profiles. First, if you don’t have a profile, you should probably think about it. If you do, I offer you this piece of wisdom (clearly, not mine): your profile is, in more ways than most of us can grasp, your public face. It’s your resume; online for everyone to see. Why on Earth wouldn’t you have it dialed-out to present “you” exactly as you would want contacts, potential employers, or even old friends to see? I ask this because, at present, my profile basically blows. Think of this post as a symbolic V-8 slap to myself. But, hopefully, all two readers of this blog might benefit from it, as well.
What does this have to do with Boot Camp, you ask? Just this – it’s not all about you, or me, or him. Your profile, while personal and about you, is also a social platform. If someone asks you for a recommendation, take the 15 minutes and write a good one. You’re helping them improve their public face, and who knows where that can take them? Take the time to make an introduction when you can. In other words, don’t be the guy that only reaches out when they’re looking for a new gig. Be engaged. Be thoughtful. Give as good as you get.