By Brenda Bernstein
The Essay Expert
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make in their LinkedIn profiles is that they do not distinguish who they are from who their company is. I call this “conflating” yourself with your company.
“Conflating” is a completely natural thing to do, especially if you, like so many of us, identify yourself very strongly with your company.
It just doesn’t work for your readers and potential customers.
When I read a Summary on LinkedIn, I want it to tell me who that person is beyond the great professional photo up top. If I wanted to hear all about a company, I would go to the company website or LinkedIn page. I’m looking at your personal profile to learn more about you!
Here’s an example from a profile I reviewed, along with my commentary:
Over 17 years of expertise providing social networking strategy consulting and implementation in organizations such as Motorola, BF Goodrich, AT&T, American Express, Medtronic, CNA, UBS and hundreds of emerging companies looking to build key account relationships with large organizations, innovate new products or build their brands through social networking.
Did you make it through that one? It was difficult, wasn’t it? Not only is this otherwise impressive list of credentials a run-on sentence, but it leaves us confused: Is this person talking about herself or her company? Does she have 17 years of experience or does her company? After reading this entire paragraph, I’m still wondering… who is she?
Her next paragraph goes on as follows:
We offer a unique, exclusive and cost-effective process to build leadership, sales and customer networks to grow revenue exponentially. Recently Crains named me the best networker in Chicago. I am also the author of eleven books (just working on book twelve)….
Do you see where in the middle of a paragraph she switches from the subject “we” to the subject “I”? Again, who is she vs. who is her company?
The above networking expert has stellar credentials and recommendations and is up to big things – but we might not ever get around to reading past the first two lines of her Summary.
Now, here’s an example of someone who does a great job of distinguishing himself from his company, and who succeeds in selling both:
I am a research professional and LinkedIn trainer with more than eight years of combined market intelligence, competitive intelligence and Internet recruiting experience. My focus has been on deep web sourcing, executive interviews and online social networking. I enjoy networking with professionals from any industry on a global scale and encourage you to contact me at any time…. Thanks!
See how this entire paragraph is about the person himself? It works! We’re right there with him!
His second section reads as follows:
Current Phelps Research Services Initiatives:
- Networking with business professionals in the greater Milwaukee, Madison and Chicago areas
- Selling and conducting targeted LinkedIn training to corporations.
Here he clearly makes a switch from talking about himself to talking about his company. We get that he is the principal in the company and we know who’s behind these initiatives. We stay engaged and wanting to read more.
I encourage you to look at your LinkedIn profile Summary. Have you conflated yourself with your company? If so, it’s time to re-write that Summary and distinguish yourself and who you are. That’s what we go there to discover.