Even though I speak resume as a Brand Strategist, Career Coach and Professional Resume Writer – this is not the most important language for LinkedIn. In fact, it is the worst language to use. It is the wrong conversation tone.
One of the most important differences between a resume and LinkedIn is voice. There is a clear distinction for each.
Resume: This is an arm’s length conversation. The tone is a removed, professional sales tone. It is written in the assumed “I” – instead of “I am responsible for xyz” a resume is written as “Responsible for xyz”. It is a language that is only used for the resume, not for any other type of conversation.
LinkedIn: This is a one-on-one conversation with the person reading your profile. They are looking at your picture and getting a sense of what you sound like. You are speaking directly to that one person – your target audience. You should use the “I” or “me” as it is a business, professional, casual conversation.
Think of your summary as this: if you were sitting down in a foo-foo coffee house across from your ideal target and they asked you, “Tell me about yourself” you would not answer with “I am an experienced Professional Title with 15 years’ experience doing ABC”. This might be the opening of your resume, but is not how you would talk to another person.
Instead you would tell them a modification of your elevator and interview pitch. You would talk like a real person talking to another real person sitting in front of you. How you answer that question is basically your LinkedIn summary.
So the most important language you should use when writing your LinkedIn profile is the language of you.
Use words that accurately describe you. If you are energetic, passionate, motivated and the like – then use these types of words.
If you love the behind the scenes analysis, research and reporting – then tell it like it is!
Be you, the professional you, and that will allow the right audience to connect with you resulting in expanded networks and opportunities.
The other six languages I speak: Mom, boy, dog, obvious and sarcasm.
Mom: I raised a son. I learned the best way to communicate with him was short and direct. I also learned that he interpreted things differently than I did; for example “clean your room” had two different meanings to us. I learned how to command the “Mom Voice”.
Boy: My son’s best friends were often at our house so I was the adopted second mother to a house full of boys. I am five foot tall, they all grew to be over six foot before high school, I had to learn to talk boy quickly to gain and keep control. The “Mom Voice” came in handy here, too. I also learned to be fluent on topics of sports, flatulence, explaining why not to do stupid things just because it popped into their heads and the difference in holding a fork like a utensil and not a shovel.
Dog: I grew up with four dogs, at one point had a pack of five and my current pack is now part of the office. Yes, they have different sounds, whines, barks, yips, moans, sighs and howls; and yes, I understand them all. I know the difference between a chipmunk sighting alert whine and a delivery truck alert whine.
Obvious: One of the two languages passed down from my father and brother. This language is incorporated into my body language, it cannot be helped. In this instance, I was holding a friend’s crutches and someone remarked, “wow, you’re short”. We captured the moment.
Sarcasm: The other language passed down from my father and brother; my brother was the king. I prefer to call this effervescent witticism. I am a huge fan and skilled translator.
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I help people identify and set a path to achieve their career goals by using the V Formula:
Your Value + Your Voice = Visibility
Visibility is the leverage to move in, move up or move on in your career; expand your book of business or territory, grow your company and strengthen your team.
Lisa K. McDonald, Owner and Principal of Career Polish, Inc. is a favorite speaker and seminar facilitator at companies, professional organizations and colleges speaking to leadership, sales, teams, transitioning/downsized employees and networking groups about career mobility, personal branding, networking, creating executive presence and achieving career movement success. To find out more, visit Career Polish, Inc.