For your LinkedIn Profile, take a lesson from Facebook and live it up a little.

C’mon people, live it up a bit. Show us what you’re working with. I know LinkedIn is a professional networking forum where professional decorum is scrupulously maintained. Pictures are tasteful. Spam is minimal.  Comments are respectful.  Etc. etc. etc. That doesn’t mean your profile has to be boring. There are some very good reasons to loosen the buttons a little and let your personality shine through. And that means taking a few risks with your language and your tone.

Many are reluctant  to do more than paste their factual, chronological resumes online. They think of LinkedIn as just another career site where that’s what you do.  Think like that and it’s very easy to fall back on marketing clichés like customer-oriented, client-focused, thought leadership, results driven and other meaningless descriptors. For one thing, nobody searches on those formulaic keywords, so you are just wasting space if you want to rank high for a keyword term. And once they find you,  people want to connect with and work with those who are genuine, original, likable and yes, results-driven (clever synonym needed to replace results driven). When was the last time you were impressed with someone who told you they were “client-focused”?  When was the last time you actually ever said that with a straight face?

Facebook is a good place to look for inspiration. I am not advocating for  unabridged inhibition or strident opinions that characterizes some people’s Facebook posts.  That would be suicidal to professional networking. But your Facebook page is where your off-work personality resides, and more and more there is a blending of personal and professional lives. People are getting used to knowing both sides of your personality.  I can guarantee you that recruiters are not only looking at your  LinkedIn profile, but also your Facebook page to learn more about the ” “real” you. Adding in some humor, cleverness, opinion, slang, thoughtfulness and unconventional wisdom to your profile is not only not taboo, it’s refreshing.

Don’t be afraid to discuss your philosophies toward your industry or the job you are seeking.  Everything doesn’t have to be a  key “responsibility” or “achievement” from your worklife.  If you met Michael Jordan once during a photo shoot, why not mention something about what that experience was like.  You never know, the hiring manager looking at your profile may be a huge a basketball fan.  I got my first job out of college precisely that way (long before the days of LinkedIn).  The hiring manager had gone to University of Maryland, and I had just graduated from University of Virginia.  We talked about ACC sports for half an hour before he said” Oh yeah, I am supposed to ask you some questions about this job”.  I got the job offer the next day.

One more thing.  Don’t go on and on ad nauseum. Make your point quickly and succinctly and move on.  It pains me to admit this since I make my living by writing, but people don’t read long copy on the Web.  They scan.  A mix-up of a few short paragraphs and some key bullets is the right blend to strive for. This will be a good exercise for you, since shorter copy is harder to write than longer copy.  You have to work hard to distill the essence of what you want to say down to a few words that expresses the same thought.  Coming up with that just right “pearl of wisdom” will definitely set you apart.

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