My New LinkedIn Summary: Breaking the Fourth Wall of a Resume

LinkedIn is a weird niche in the internet: it’s a place for recruiters to reach out to candidates without a completely cold-email approach, along with a smattering of other relatively unimportant things going on (lots of “congrats” notes and the occasional unsubstantiated endorsement).

It’s not clear whether it’s a good niche or a bad one, but what is clear is that the most likely person to get their first introduction to me via my LinkedIn profile is a recruiter. So I can target my resume more effectively. I know exactly where to aim in terms of the reader being familiar with me and my work. With that in mind I recently rewrote my profile summary:

If you’re looking at my LinkedIn profile (as opposed to my academic CV [1] or my blog [2]), then chances are you’re a recruiter at a software company. Chances are also good that you haven’t got the first impression most people have of me: I love math.

Let me say it again: I really love math. I like doing it [3], learning it, talking about it, and writing about it [4]. So it would be foolish to try to get me into a job where I’m not spending at least 20% of my time thinking about math.

That being said, my favorite kinds of math are the kinds that unlock fascinating programs. I was originally trained as a software engineer, and so I love it when mathematical ideas and programs together allow one to, for example, recognize faces [5], design economic markets [6], or create fun games [7]. That’s part of the beauty of math: it can apply in wild and unexpected places.

If I’m going to work for a company that isn’t explicitly mathematical, this would be my dream job: finding ways to apply mathematics to improve existing features or add new ones. It doesn’t have to involve genuinely original mathematics, it doesn’t even have to involve particularly clever mathematics. But I require some minimal amount of mathematical engagement in whatever I do.

Finally, I’m guaranteed to decline all job offers before I finish my PhD. But if we have a chat and your company seems to fit, I’d be glad to contact you once I’m on the market.


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