Don’t make this silly mistake on LinkedIn!

by K B , updated on May 20, 2016

One more thing that sets me RANTING is when I see people use third person on their LinkedIn profile.

I know a lot of career marketers talk about this, but it seems not many people are listening.

How do I know this?

In 2014 I did a deep dive into 200 profiles. I found that that 80% of people in this sample were guilty of this crime.

If you’re not sure what I mean by third person, take a read of this snippet from a summary section.

3rd-person 1

So what’s wrong with this?

When you write in third person you are creating distance between yourself and the reader. It’s the online equivalent of having an assistant make your marketing calls.

If you are writing in third person to project confidence, it actually does the opposite of that. It sounds like you are not willing to own who you are and what you’ve done.

Here’s that profile snippet in the first person.


Replacing the name with “I” is instantly more engaging – and “real.”

It fits with the purpose of being on LinkedIn, which is you representing you.

There are many mistakes like these which mean that people are less likely to connect with you, or engage with you on LinkedIn.

It’s no big news that LinkedIn is fast becoming the first place people look for staff.  What you may not realise is that its success has spawned a lot of other niche sites for different groups of industry professionals.

Like or loathe being online, these platforms are only going to get bigger. They provide a cheaper alternative to recruitment agencies and potentially create the platform for more direct conversations.

The market place is open, and we’re all competing on a world stage for jobs. It is now a place where you need to own your space.

There are many other mistakes I see people make on LinkedIn – where people spam their contact list with generic emails, fill up groups with irrelevant information, have no detail in their profile and expect that people will say yes to an invitation to connect.

These mistakes that mean that people won’t look at your LinkedIn profile – or say yes when you reach out to connect.

There are far more powerful ways to use LinkedIn as your primary marketing tool.

Many of my clients have successfully found roles using only LinkedIn. They’ve started that process with owning who they are and what they do.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Alex June 18, 2014 at 9:45 pm

Hi there,
Having about a half-a-year seek experience here in Au (Sydney), successful, I think I can say that those subtle words in LinkedIn are not much of importance. The real value is your worth which is valued on the interview. and LinkedIn are just means to get a contact with interested recruiter.

Jacqueline June 19, 2014 at 6:10 am

Sure, but if you stand out from the crowd a would-be employer or recruiter will be more likely to contact you for an interview.

Karalyn June 19, 2014 at 4:54 pm

It’s my experience that most people write their profile, and don’t look to see if they stand out against their industry peers. LI gives you a great chance to identify what makes you unique. Writing in the first person about yourself is one way to do this, and a much more engaging way to communicate, says Karalyn :-)

Karalyn June 19, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Hi Alex, I’m glad that’s been your experience. I wrote this because I don’t consider these to be subtle words, and I have seen recruiters and other people mock people for using 3rd person. (The irony is that many of them are the guilty offenders as well). LinkedIn is a networking tool, you don’t network through other people, that’s the point of first person. Karalyn

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