"Previously @Company"

Why you shouldn't put prior employers in your bio's

Most people in tech have a neatly compiled list of all of the previous employers in their Twitter and Clubhouse bio's. These are often well respected, easily recognizable firms. The reality is, though, that almost none of the individuals who do this have had any real impact at these firms. You can probably count this double if they have a large number of firms in their bio. Furthermore, they're lingering on their past. No one I know does this for almost any other part of their lives. Imagine if you were married and listed off every former relationship you were in. It'd be weird.

I myself have been very lucky to work at the places I have. There were some great people at each, and we all had interesting problems to solve. The reality is that I no longer work at those places so I don't list them anywhere but my Linkedin. Do examples of things I learned in my time occasionally come up? Sure. But it seems a weird stroke to put them in the prime real estate of my internet about me. It doesn't usually feel relevant. When I see it, it comes off as status signaling.

The one counter example I can think of is if someone is from a marginalized background. In those cases, listing off credentials can help elevate your voice and prevent people from ignoring you. That's an unfortunate reality of our imperfect world today. Then again, if people are invalidating you because you don't immediately have some credentials available and it isn't a life or death situation, do you really want to engage with those people? (I suppose sometimes you unfortunately can't help it)

I don't like lingering on my past roles. That doesn't mean that they weren't formative, but it doesn't make sense to me why so many people seem to list them. They contribute to an unhealthy idolization of individuals based on the prestige of the firms. They also tend to benefit in-groups and raise their voices in a way which isn't always beneficial for the broader industry. If you do it, I’m certainly not going to stop you, but hopefully I’ve encouraged you to use that virtual real estate for something better.