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Does Clever Or Cute Work On LinkedIn Profiles?

This post is about trying to create a clever LinkedIn profile. Are you trying too hard?

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Some people try to be cute on LinkedIn. They try to bring a sly or clever twist to their profile to get noticed.

Is a clever LinkedIn profile wrong? What do you think?

Well, it’s not wrong like being a jerk on LinkedIn. And, it’s not as bad as being lazy on LinkedIn.

But being cute or clever on LinkedIn is risky. It’s not like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram where sarcasm and verbal risk taking is OK and expected.

LinkedIn is a professional network full of people that might hire you someday. So when you think of your personal brand and how to communicate your value online, you have to be a little careful.

The idea for this post comes from a recent guest on the Recruiting Animal radio show in December. Be sure to follow @Animal on Twitter. You can learn more about him (and how we got tot know each other) in a blog post I wrote after my appearance on his recruiting radio show: How To Start, Maintain and End a Conversation with a Stranger.

Here are two examples of people trying to be cute or build a clever LinkedIn profile. For both examples, pay attention to the first lines in their summary. After the picture and headline, the summary is the first place you get to tell your story and establish your branding.

So here’s one that works (I think) and one that doesn’t:

A clever LinkedIn profile that works:

Here are the words Lea used:

“Operational savant and digital geek with attention to detail that will knock your socks off.”

So why does this work? I think because her first line ends with a positive benefit for those that work with her. People like positive people upon first meeting. You can be sarcastic or crass later in your relationship. I also think we have a big heart for self-described geeks. Geeks are cool. And there’s a suggested strong work ethic and passion that comes with the term “geek”.

Do you agree that this works?

A clever LinkedIn profile that doesn’t work:

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Here are the words Jeremy used:

“I bully words, people.”

Why doesn’t this one work? Well, no one likes a bully, right? You can’t win calling yourself that because we’ve all been bullied before by someone. So instead of Lea’s positive connotation and self-effacing approach, the reaction here is “hey, this guy is cocky”. Of course when I heard Jeremy on Animal’s show, he didn’t come across that way (which made this branding effort seem contrived).

Can an approach like this work? Yes, I think it can. If he could focus on the positive benefit of how he bullies (creatively uses) words to create a big win for his company or client. And how perhaps he uses words to influence others toward a positive outcome.

* Note: Since I grabbed this screenshot, Jeremy has since added a more substantive argument to back up the words above. He got some great advice from Animal and his guest experts. But I still don’t like the words…

What do you think about a clever LinkedIn profile?

In the end, when writing your LinkedIn summary, be yourself, be positive and think about who might be reading your profile. Think about who you want to attract and what true words you can share to do that effectively.

Thanks Luke Wisley for the lead photo via Flickr

Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Personal Branding

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