By Thomas A. Parmalee

I do a lot of networking on LinkedIn … and I notice a lot of errors when reviewing profiles.

Fortunately, most of the time when I notice someone has misspelled their job title, the headline on their profile or committed some other egregious error, they are gainfully employed. They usually appreciate it when I give them a gentle, private nudge and say, “You may want to fix this.”

Other times, the mistakes are more forgivable: One of the most common ones I see is someone who has failed to update their email address, which I refer to a lot when reaching out to people. The easiest place to find an email address – especially when many companies make it hard to find the email addresses of their staff (another mistake in my opinion) – is to visit their LinkedIn profile and click on Contact Info.

If you recently left your job, well, I get it: You probably have had a lot going on, and the last thing that may be on your mind is updating that LinkedIn profile. But eventually, you should change your job title and everything else that goes along with it.

Other problems are more nuanced … if you’ve had the same headshot on your profile for the past eight years or more, it may be time to change it, which I was reminded of recently when I had a Zoom call with someone who looked to be in their late 60s or early 70s … when I’d been expecting to be chatting with someone around 50. It simply caught me off guard. Then of course, there are people who do not include their headshot at all, which perhaps they have a reason for omitting but probably not.

One mistake I see more than you would think is when a company rebrands itself under a new name and yet so many of its employees fail to update their LinkedIn profiles with the new company name and their new company email address. Another mistake that is just as shocking if not more so is when a funeral home has failed to claim a company LinkedIn page that already exists but that they are not realizing any benefits from.

But the mistake that has been bothering me the most when it specifically comes to funeral service is not a mistake at all – well, at least not to the people waving it like a banner for everyone to see. It is a choice, but a poor one nonetheless in my opinion.

It revolves around one word: Disposal.

I appreciate that the majority of the population now prefers cremation on a national basis, but you will never convince me that someone looks to a funeral home or crematory to “dispose” of their loved one. Memorialize, sure. Honor, heck yes. Even the word “bury” has its place as it’s straightforward – just like saying we “die” instead of “pass away” – a euphemism that my journalism instructor always warned against.

And yet, I’ve recently seen on several occasions someone referring to themselves in their LinkedIn headline or job title as a “direct disposer” or as someone working in “direct disposal.”

If a straightforward job title like “funeral director” or “crematory operator” does not work for you, there are so many other ways you could tout what you do for families that would complement your brand and yourself instead of giving people the impression that you literally take out the trash.

For instance, why not call yourself a “maker of memories,” a “memory specialist,” a “celebration of life expert” or any other myriad options that would make me smile as I remember my loved one or think about making my own arrangements in advance instead of references that make me think of garbage heaps?

Sadly, when I see such references, I can’t help but think that it makes the individual look a little bad. Even if that is what their employer calls their position, I would use something else. One day, it may be time to look for a new role, and I can’t help but think that someone’s chances might be hurt when a funeral home or crematory that prides itself on providing best-in-class service has to decide between interviewing a “funeral director” versus a “direct disposer.”

Price matters, and the word “direct” has a place in the profession as it signals to families who want a minimal level of service that they have, in fact, found a provider that can offer something that meshes with what they envision.

But I would contend that the word “disposer” and “disposal” should be eliminated from every single death-care website, every single website and every single LinkedIn profile for someone working in funeral service.

I have to think there are some out there who agree.

Follow on LinkedIn.

Follow on Twitter.

Follow on Facebook.

Leave a Message

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Comment *
Full Name *
Email Address *

Related Posts

Visit regularly to get the latest insights on the profession.

Learn from the past, look to the future and optimize business operations with the insights on