Does Your Ex Help You With Your Next?
Name-dropping your ex-employers can only get you so far
Ex-consultants are more likely to name-drop their former employers in the bio of their profiles.
Compared to their peers who don’t mention their former employers in the bio, ex-employees who name-drop tend to graduate from less prestigious universities.
The additional signal that comes with name-dropping can only help so much, as ex-employees who name-drop don’t experience as much of a salary bump for the next job move as their peers.
Past work experience can add a lot of value to one’s resume, especially when the former employer is well-known and respected. It is not surprising that many people would want to name-drop these companies and highlight those experiences. This week, we take a look at the bio of people’s profiles and see which companies are most likely to be name-dropped by their former employees.
The plot below lists the top 20 companies most mentioned by their ex-employees in the bio of their profiles. Consulting and professional services companies dominate the chart, followed by tech firms. Consulting firms are known for cultivating their alumni network: Not only could ex-employees be potential buyers of products and services, but they could also serve as ambassadors to help firms recruit the best talent. As a result, it is not surprising that ex-consultants have a stronger association with their former employers and want to name-drop more frequently.
What makes some ex-employees want to name-drop more than others? If we compare individuals’ educational backgrounds, we see that ex-employees who name-drop their former employers are more likely to have graduated from lower-ranked undergraduate programs. For them, highlighting past work experiences at prestigious companies in the bio of their profiles can compensate for their less famous educational pedigree and promote their capabilities to future employers.
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However, the additional signal that comes with name-dropping in profile bio can only help so much. Compared to their peers, name-dropping ex-employees experience a lower salary bump for their next position after leaving their ex-employer–another sign of adverse selection into name-dropping. It seems that future employers do read beyond the bio section when they evaluate the qualifications of job applicants: Applicants’ weak educational backgrounds cannot be masked by name-dropping their famous ex-employers and still have a significant impact on their next moves.