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5 ways to avoid killing your LinkedIn brand

Pro profile tips

There are some obvious ways to kill your personal and professional brand online.   Most of us know (after a mistake or two) not to allow naked baby pictures of ourselves to be posted on our work intranets.  What about the less obvious mistakes?  Don’t spin your wheels building a bland LinkedIn profile.  Follow the pro profile tips.  If you can avoid these personal LinkedIn brand-killers, you’ll be well on your way to letting out that compelling human story you always knew you could tell, but weren’t sure how.

LinkedIn personal brand killer #1: Corporate-speak

“I am results-oriented, with a bottom-line orientation.”  Do you want to meet with someone who has that headline?  Probably not, because it sounds like they collected non-descipt words from an internal memo that might be describing a great electric stapler instead of a person.

Try this: “We found our first computer at a garage sale in 1989. I begged my dad to get it.  After the first week I had written 3 computer programs and was hooked.”  You can talk about yourself in writing the same way you would in person.  Isn’t that more interesting?

LinkedIn personal brand killer #2: Hiding behind a title, certificate, or education

There’s nothing wrong with putting your certifications or education behind your name (MD, MBA, CSM, etc.)  You worked hard to go to medical school, or become a certified pet groomer, or whatever.  Avoid making it the center-piece of your personal brand: “With my MBA from Harvard, I bring a diverse set of…”

What this communicates to readers is personal insecurity.

Your personal mission and aspirations are not sturdy or meaningful enough to stand without the help of Harvard’s brand.  You are saying “I’m nothing by myself.  I need other people and institutions to make me okay by bestowing credentials on me.”

LinkedIn personal brand killer #3: Task-master

What’s obvious to you is oblivious to everyone on the outside. Watch out for this if you work for a big organization that has its own internal language and acronyms.

This might sound like:  “Assisted Traffic Quality with Software Bundling Reviews and communicating results to the Editorial Escalation Specialists for the EMEA, SMB, and Yahoo Partners (Managed) and Unmanaged accounts.”  If you work in the Microsoft Advertising Group, this is meaningful.  Otherwise, it’s probably gobbley-gook.

Why did you perform those tasks? How did you make your mark on each organization you’ve worked for?

“I noticed that many major accounts reporting advertising traffic were displaying out-of-date information.  I embedded a real-time dashboard inside our secured intranet server and built a function for copy-pasting old excel-based information that automatically parsed and distributed to the relevant groups.  Our general manager awarded me a Gold Star for this idea.”

LinkedIn personal brand killer #4: I’m an important person, because I say so…

“Seasoned, savvy, strategic development manager..”  Maybe other people think so and we can validate with them. But, we may not know them.  And we may not care to ask after reading that description of you.

Instead, tell us what you’ve done and we can decide how incredibly savvy and seasoned you are!   “I led my team through a pilot restructuring from waterfall development approach to an agile approach dropping our feature’s release cycles from 3 months to 2 weeks.  Based on user feedback and my team’s satisfaction, I was asked to train 5 other development managers on successful agile methods roll-out.”

LinkedIn personal brand killer #5: Abstraction addiction

“I synthesize processes to create team synergy in large and complex organizations. Outside-the-box thinker enabling big savings from projects completed on-time.”

Abstract is boring because you are moving a fog machine in front of your accomplishment and we have no idea what you’ve done.  What was the problem you solved? Tell the human story, and don’t be afraid to use appropriate detail:

“I was asked to oversee the consolidation of several global business units we had recently acquired, each reporting 50 million+ in annual revenue. They were on different accounting systems and reporting methods for over 25 years. I led the cross-functional team and we accomplished the merger in under a year resulting in a savings of 30 million+ by eliminating the redundant systems and procedures.”

If you can avoid these 5 LinkedIn brand-killers telling your career story, you’ll already be bright and shiny among the riff-raff.