In my sporadic yet ongoing search for real work, I have established a LinkedIn profile. True to my self-conscious, insecure, indecisive self, I have not completed said profile. This post will attempt to address why that is, in my hope that in so doing I will be inspired and motivated to move forward.

The purpose of the LinkedIn profile is to present one’s professional self to the world. It should  list accomplishments, describe abilities and define goals, and with any luck, propel the professional toward connections and opportunities. Right?

OK. So what is my problem?

I am morbidly averse to trying to catalogue my accomplishments, probably because I am afraid I won’t find any. Likewise abilities. And goals? Uh, to find a job. That I like. That pays reasonably well. With great colleagues. That challenges and engages me and allows me to make some contribution to the greater world. Or at least my little corner of it. Can I be more specific?

Now you see my problem.

It’s packaging. And truth. Not that I have any problem with the truth. My problem is reconciling who I have been with who I want to be next, right down to my very name.

(I’ve written before about why I wanted to change my name. I’ve gone so far as to change it socially, but not legally. Mainly due to dread of bureaucracy, but the time has come to confront that too. I see a trip to the County Clerk’s Office in my near future. I’ll think about dealing with the DMV and Social Security later, when I can bear it.)

In the short-term, at the suggestion of my very savvy friend, I have  merged all four components of my name into one LinkedIn identity. She was right to talk me out of ditching my unloved first name, and the surname I was born with; my entire professional life has been lived as that person. So the name thing is solved for the moment: first, middle, last and married. It is quite the moniker. I fear that no one will have the patience for the whole thing. (There’s a lot of spelling.) I am Sandra Leigh Smutz Cadwallader. (phew)

Having solved the Who, I must still consider the What; the complete profile includes a title or tag line that summarizes the professional. That’s great if you are a marketer, an engineer, or a candlestick maker, looking for another marketing/engineering/candlestick making gig, but what about me? I’d like to cast the widest possible net without sounding like a Psycho Great Imposter. (haven’t we all worked with one of those?- “Yeah, I ran a restaurant. It was after I was a swimsuit model and before I became a stockbroker.”- lookin’ at you, K in S.F.)

I am a former investigator with experience in criminal law, juvenile dependency, and insurance. My greatest strength may be my ability to approach and engage people, to gain rapport, build and maintain relationships, often under stressful conditions. I am a skilled interviewer. I am able to obtain information from multiple sources and quickly and concisely put it in report form. I routinely managed multiple projects with conflicting deadlines. I am by nature a problem solver with an interest in conflict resolution. I enjoy training and mentoring. Although I have never been strictly motivated by money, I have strong sales skills: in my current part-time position, I am consistently among the top three producers. I qualified for “President’s Club” status last year by attaining over $300,000 in sales. This year I am on track to attain at least $500,000.

So what am I?