The Impostor Syndrome Insecurities on LinkedIn

Ways to Handle Your Insecurities on LinkedIn

I was working with a client on her LinkedIn profile recently when she said to me – “I’ll do exactly what you say – you’re the expert” and my immediate internal reaction was a sense of panic and a desire to say – “I’m not an expert.”  Fortunately, I’d just been thinking about writing about this whole modesty problem and so I caught myself and thought – “of course I’m the expert” and then responded confidently to her with the information my client needed.

I think almost every client I work with – men and women though it’s more prevalent with my female clients – say something either during our preliminary consultation or our working session.no bragging

“I don’t want to seem like I’m bragging”

“It really wasn’t me that accomplished this goal – it was the whole team.  I don’t want it to look like I’m taking all the credit.”

“I just don’t feel comfortable talking about myself online.”

“I don’t know what to write on my LinkedIn profile.”

“In my culture, it’s not nice to brag.”

And so on…

I should also mention these are highly successful professionals – CFO’s, lawyers, engineers, business owners, etc. that said these things.  No matter how accomplished they are, they still didn’t feel like they quite belonged at the table and feared that someone would discover that they were really imposters.

I’m no psychologist so I’m not going to attempt to psychoanalyze my clients.  I’m just going to brutally say: “Get over yourself.”  I come from a culture (British) that is usually appalled by the brash self-confidence of the Americans (little do they know!)  LinkedIn isn’t about bragging. What you want in your LinkedIn profile is enough information to give people a chance to know that they’d like to learn more and that lets people know that you can do the job – whether you are someone others are looking to hire, working with as a co-worker, or even be a good manager to them.

► There are many ways to present yourself confidently and honestly without going overboard.

  • Did you do the work or didn’t you?
  • Would someone want to work with you? (If not, that’s a different problem I can’t cover here!)
  • Do you bring something of value to the table?  Can you do the work?
  • Do you have the training and experience you’ve listed?

► If you were your co-worker or boss, what would you say about you and your contributions?

► LinkedIn also offers a wonderful opportunity to talk about what you care about which is a different angle than what feels like the aforementioned bragging.  Some examples include:

“I care about the success of the company and work hard to be a great contributor.”

“I’m passionate about doing things right the first time. My co-workers know they can trust me to get things down correctly.”

“There is no technical challenge that I won’t wrestle to the ground.”

As you can see, you can even have a little fun showcasing your personality along with your skillset.

Be brave. Be bold. Get over yourself and strut your stuff a little.

And, if you’d like to take the next step and learn how to post content and participate in conversations on LinkedIn, take a look at my group program that will teach you to do exactly that!

And, if you need a little help, I would love to talk with you about the benefits to you of showcasing your skills appropriately and being more active on LinkedIn. Please schedule a free 20-minute strategy consultation to see how I can assist you.


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