Should you mention a former employer in your LinkedIn headline?

I started thinking about this when a recent LinkedIn scroll kept showing me people with ex-[insert company name] in their byline.

It got me thinking – Is it a good thing to mention?

Let’s break it down:

Pros:

Credibility and Brand Recognition

  • Working at a prestigious or well-known company can add credibility and signal expertise to recruiters and hiring managers.
  • Brand name recognition of major companies can help your profile stand out.

Searchability

  • Recruiters often search for candidates with experience at specific companies.
  • Having “ex-Company Name” in your headline can improve your visibility in search results.

Imply High Standards

  • Mentioning a top employer can imply that you have high standards because you have been exposed to great compensation, benefits, and work culture.

Engagement and Reach

  • For content creators or thought leaders, adding a prestigious “ex-” can potentially increase engagement and reach on their posts.

Cons:

Overreliance on Past Employer’s Brand

  • It can be seen as relying too heavily on a company’s brand equity rather than selling your skills and accomplishments.

Irrelevant for Some Roles

  • For early career professionals or those in industries where the company name may not matter as much, the “ex-” tag provides little added value.

Appears Boastful

  • Some perceive listing multiple “ex-” companies as bragging or appearing arrogant, especially if it’s the main focus of the headline.

Outdated Information

  • Your current role and accomplishments should take precedence. Listing former employers can make your headline look outdated. (Ex-Blackberry, Ex-Nokia)

In summary, the “ex-Company Name” headline tag can provide benefits around credibility, visibility, and signalling expertise for some professionals.

However, if not used judiciously, it can also come across as overreliance on past employers, irrelevant bragging, or outdated information.

The appropriateness may depend on one’s career stage, industry norms, and how prominently the “ex-” is featured in the headline.

I put up a Poll to see what others think.

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