It is one of the most important pieces of real estate you can imagine. The 120 letters of your LinkedIn profile. But it can be misused.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from The Official MBA Handbook on business cards. It is this: Avoid overly pretentious job titles such as “Lord of the Realm, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India” or “Director of Corporate Planning.”
Following are 10 titles I definitely won’t be using as a template for my LinkedIn profile. Names (ala the old Dragnet show) have been changed to protect the innocent.
“Rocking Chair-Mystic”. Falls under the “Avoid overly pretentious titles” rule. These also include “Lord of the Realm, Defender of the Faith… See the introduction to this post.
“Biggest Loser Contestant”. Unless you’re coaching weight loss, this one says “I did something highly visible once”. Unfortunately, he’s still doing what he did before the weight loss. (Albeit a thinner version of his old self)
Creator. Really? Do you want to put a pronoun in front of that? Maybe clarify what you create? Are you THE Creator?
My name. My name – Author of “[insert your book title here]”. Unless you’re the “Chairman of the Department of Redundancy Department” or something similarly Monty Pythonesque, don’t use this kind of repetition.
Entertainment Professional. This is NOT Craigslist. Give a little more detail or this just sounds BAD.
“Guru”. Any kind of guru (BPM, SEO, Social media, LinkedIn, etc.) or ninja.… The people who do this are way too numerous to mention by name. “Blackbelt” is ok if you’re Six Sigma certified’
“Graduage”. This was an alumnus of my alma mater. How bad is that when an advanced degree doesn’t teach you how to spell?
“Open to new opportunities”. Really? Sounds like you’re trying to find yourself. Let me tell you where to search: ANYWHERE but LinkedIn. You can thank me later.
Current job title and employer. This is LinkedIn’s default setting. Really? You couldn’t come up with anything better? I’m not going to imitate you for sure.
Geek, Author. Maybe you SHOULDN’T lead with your strength.
BONUS TIP: Avoiding linking to your blog if you EVER mentioned any body parts, bodily fluids or called someone an unflattering or derogatory name associated with these. The example that comes to mind is an otherwise enviable profile that featured a blog link. The first sentence in a blog about gun control measures called the NRA spokesman a name associated with feminine hygiene. Bad move!
SHOUT OUTS: To improve my LinkedIn profile I used tips from several people who I consider friends as well as experts.
John Sparks, MBA. John spent time with me on the phone, his advice was very helpful and he delivers real value. He was recommended by a friend. She’s an even better friend now because she connected me with John.
Christine Hueber has an extremely helpful downloadable booklet that will give you tips you can immediately implement. I added two tips right after I read it.
John Foster helped me keep tweaking my LinkedIn profile. He’s a friend and has helpful tips.
Each is a LinkedIn connection that was willing to help even BEFORE we connected. That’s advice I find really useable.
What things would you recommend people avoid?