WARNING: This article may ruffle your feathers. There’s a huge mistake most people make on LinkedIn, and, sorry to say, you may be one of these people. You may be ignoring the advice of 99% of LinkedIn experts and, as a result, hurting your personal brand.
What’s the gaffe? Writing your LinkedIn profile in the third person. In other words, you refer to yourself as “he” or “she” rather than “I.”
Sure, resumes are in the third person. Bios are in the third person. But LinkedIn is neither. LinkedIn is your opportunity to sell your personal brand by being the real you.
Think of LinkedIn as a huge, professional networking event that happens to run online. Ergo, you should act on LinkedIn like you do at regular mixers (minus the Heinekens). Consider the following conversation at an in-person event. Whom do you sound like—Mike or Bob?
Mike: Hi! I’m Mike from ABC Company. I help business owners boost their profits with fun reward programs. What do you do?
Bob: Bob Smith, Executive Vice President at XYZ Company, has a proven track record of double-digit growth in an array of industries.
Bob: Bob is highly regarded for his razor-sharp strategies and keen business acumen.
Mike: Wow. You must be proud. It’s, uh, getting late. Gotta go.
Now apply this to your LinkedIn profile. You want to be Mike-like. If you choose to be like Bob—i.e., write your profile in the third person—here’s what your audience will likely think:
- You put accomplishments ahead of relationships.
- You’re not genuine.
- You believe you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread.
In real life, you may be a humble, vulnerable person who cares deeply about others. But using the third person sends the opposite message.
All people want to know is how you can improve their lives. This includes how you make them feel in working with you! You know the saying, “People buy on emotion and justify with logic”? When you write in the first person, your authenticity will tap into positive emotions. Same thing if you’re job hunting. LinkedIn is your chance to communicate on a more genuine level, beyond your resume.
This may be the one time in life where “me, myself, and I” can eradicate feelings of narcissism. Of course, your profile should still list your accomplishments! But you’ll see when you write in the first person, any brazen boasting will soften to humble brags.
You can check out my profile as an example. It’s written in the first person. It’s also a wee quirky, because that’s the real me. It supports my personal brand just how I want it. Your profile will surely be different; we’re all unique!
Reach out to me if you need more guidance or insights!