5 Reasons to Write in the First Person on LinkedIn

Reason #1

You’ll sound like an idiot if you write in the third person like a resume. Imagine attending a networking event and walking up to someone to introduce yourself like this:Networking HRS

“Jane Smith creates and delivers game-changing, customer-focused solutions. She is a trailblazer in guiding transformations to adaptive, high-velocity organizations up to enterprise scale. She is also a trusted adviser up to CEO/board levels. She infuses opportunity thinking and leverages methods from across industries to catalyze innovation.”

Doesn’t that sound totally ridiculous?! Your summary section on LI is your 15-30 second “elevator speech” – the self-introduction that tempts people to learn more about you. Make it personal.

Reason #2

You’ll have a powerful opportunity to be memorable (in a positive way.)

“Hi, I’m Jane Smith. My passion is helping others succeed. My client CTOs, CIOs, and business owners see a productivity gain of a minimum 10% within the first few months of working with me. I show them how to identify and remove inefficiencies in processes and practices, leading to large productivity gains and reduced costs.”

Reason #3

You’ll look ignorant of modern social media best practices if you write in the third person. You are sharing your personal brand. Your personal brand may be an extension of your company brand but you are more than your company name and title. Use the description of your company on your company website and LinkedIn’s company page, not as part of your profile.

One of my favorite LinkedIn profiles is one of someone who is in what to me sounds like one of the most boring jobs in the world – Business Analytics. He happens to work at one of the most interesting companies in the world – LinkedIn. He practices what LinkedIn preaches and makes me not only want to know more about analytics but also to meet him – he sounds not only brilliant but fun. The fact that there are a few typos in his profile is not something I would recommend but in his case it seems to indicate he wrote it himself – not his marketing department!

“I’m a passionate believer of data insights driving business results and changing people lives – this motivates me to inspire my team, have impacts, and improve every day. I am luckily build (sic) one of the strongest analytics teams with more than 70 data experts in Silicon Valley! We cover data, business intelligence, machine learning and text mining, analytics from all of the angles within LinkedIn.” This is just a short extract from his profile but the whole thing is consistent and intriguing and would certainly make me want to join his team if I was looking for a new job in that field. LinkedIn isn’t just for finding jobs – it’s for promoting your company as a place people would want to work.

Reason #4

Writing in the first person will make it look like you thought about your LinkedIn profile and didn’t just upload your resume to LinkedIn. It indicates that whatever you do, you’ll do well. Writing in the third person makes it look like you put no thought into it at all. In other words – you’ll look lazy.

Reason #5

You’ll look like someone who is honest and authentic and willing to give of yourself and who is not just a user. Writing in the first person allows you to show what you will do for your employer or clients.

LinkedIn is a place to share your expertise, your connections and your thought leadership. It’s a place to introduce connections to each other. There’s a well-regarded networking organization called BNI (Business Networking International) and their motto is “Givers Gain.” If BNI didn’t already own it, I’d say it was the perfect tagline for LinkedIn.

I’ll add a couple of provisos here. One – I’d rather you have a LI profile written in the third person than nothing at all. Also, I’ve followed many of the major LinkedIn gurus over the past years and only one of them espouses the third person style. During a webinar I asked him why and he just said they’d always done it that way and never thought about it. Let’s just say I don’t consider him a forward-thinking guru anymore.