I read a lot of LinkedIn profiles, both because of my position and because I do a lot of networking. I’ve seen great profiles that really let me know who a person is and what they are all about as a professional. And I’ve read profiles that…, well, that leave me scratching my head. I actually read this sentence on a LinkedIn Profile recently (I’ve changed details to protect the uninformed):
I enjoy vectoring in on product/marketing strategy and taking intelligent risks to further my company’s mission. Constantly aspiring to work in an agile and effective manner across real and perceived functional boundaries to demonstrate leadership, leverage, and results.
Here’s the deal – this person is actually a highly-capable, highly-qualified, successful person. But that doesn’t come through at all because it’s lost in jargon and business-euphemisms. It happens all the time because of LinkedIn’s roots in resumes and technical writing. Unfortunately for you,your readers don’t want to slog through all that mumbo-jumbo to figure out what you actually do. They aren’t looking for your autobiography, they want to know if you can help them with whatever problem they are trying to solve.
Here’s my new rule for LinkedIn profiles (and I write this only half in jest), D. Fish’s Axiom of Proper Language in LinkedIn Profiles:
“If you wouldn’t say a sentence in the real world, don’t write it in your profile.”
That’s it. When you write something on your LinkedIn profile, say it out loud before you publish it. If you can imagine someone hearing what you wrote and going, “What in tarnation does that mean?” (in Yosemite Sam’s voice), then you should go back and rewrite what you just wrote. Make your profile clear, concise, and understandable. Because if it’s not, if your visitors have to decipher what you have on your profile, no one will care if you are brilliant or not. They will have already stopped paying attention.