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July 29, 2011

LinkedIn Marketing Debate: Should Your LinkedIn Profile Be in 1st Person or 3rd Person?

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I spend hundreds of hours on LinkedIn every month researching, testing, tweaking and seeing what works and what doesn’t – and that’s on top of the hours I spend marketing my business and my clients’ businesses on LinkedIn. So in a week’s time I view thousands of different professional profiles.

I see people who write their profile in 1st person. Others will write in 3rd person. Even the LinkedIn marketing experts say different things when it comes to whether or not you should write your LinkedIn profile summary in first person or third person

So, today with this article, I am putting the debate to rest. I’m giving you the definitive answer to whether you should write your profile in 1st person or 3rd person – along with the reasons why.

7 Reasons to Put Your LinkedIn Profile in 1st Person and Not 3rd Person

Reason #1:

When you write your LinkedIn profile in 3rd person it reads like a boring resume and seems very technical. Or, it can sound like you are writing a biography which is not very personal or interesting. It does not give the reader a true idea of who you are as a business person, thought leader or individual.

Reason #2:

When you write your LinkedIn profile in 1st person it says to the reader that “I have character and confidence in my abilities. I’m willing to tell you in my own voice.” It tells the reader that you actually wrote your profile in your own words and took the time to personalize it.

Here is an example from one of my clients, Dan Janal, who took the time to pay attention to detail when writing his profile:

“Imagine being featured on the front page of USA TODAY — and then being able to double your speaking fees immediately just like PR LEADS client Patrick Snow of Creating Your Own Destiny. Imagine the website traffic and sales you can generate if only you can find a way to get more publicity so you can speak to millions for free!

Now, small business owners, solo PR firms, speakers, authors and entrepreneurs can get name-brand publicity tools and publicity coaching they can afford. I’m talking about the same top-tier publicity tools that major corporations use to get mega media placements – but you can get it at a fraction of their cost.

For example, my PRLEADS.com service puts you in touch with reporters who are writing articles and need to find expert sources like you! We’re talking journalists from big name publications and media outlets like The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and Redbook.”

You can read Dan’s entire profile at:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/danjanal

Reason #3:

When you write your LinkedIn profile in 3rd person you create an automatic disconnect. It’s too distant and pompous. And, it automatically makes me think of the back cover bio of an author in a book.

Let me show you what I mean. Here is a real example of someone’s LinkedIn profile summary – the name has been changed to protect the guilty:

“Chris Baton is an attorney who specializes in immigration law. A large percentage of his practice is focused on immigration trials and appeals.

Chris was the former chairperson for the American Bar Association Solo and Small Firm Division, Immigration Law Committee. Throughout his career, he has served on many local, state, and federal government boards and commissions. He speaks professionally on a variety of immigration and political issues.”

Many of the profiles are done this way because the user has copied a biography from their website or another source where 3rd party format is more common. This shows me that you did not put any thought or time in to creating an effective LinkedIn profile. You need to show viewers that you care enough to connect with them on a personal level.

Reason #4:

LinkedIn is a virtual networking platform for business professionals who want to do more business. It is the first step in building a relationship with someone. You wouldn’t introduce yourself in the third person if you met someone at a networking event – would you? Then why would you introduce yourself on your profile in 3rd person when writing in first person gives you a more genuine and personal touch.

Reason #5:

Your profile should be more about the reader than you. It should provide as much value as possible to the reader and it should be used to create discussions and conversations about you, your company, your products and how you can benefit others. It should be focused on what will or can be provided to the reader should they engage with you. Your profile is a “marketing piece” not a resume. And, marketing pieces are in 1st person!

Reason #6:

It’s YOUR profile. You are not a reporter writing a story about somebody. Nor are you putting together a press release. You have to personalize your profile to enable a reader or prospect to relate to you. Writing in first person gives the other person more confidence and trust in you. You are telling your own story. You need to write your LinkedIn profile for the audience MOST LIKELY to read it. Remember, you write to be read.

Reason #7:

You want to sound like you are speaking directly to someone, face-to-face, and telling them a story about your background and how they can benefit from your expertise. By writing in first person you are able to show your true character as a person and business owner.

Remember when writing your LinkedIn profile to personalize it by writing in the 1st person. Show your audience that you are just like them.

Now, do you still think you should be writing your LinkedIn profile summary and experience sections in 3rd person?


LinkedIn marketing Expert Kristina Jaramillo, the creator of the first LinkedIn marketing templates at http://www.InstantLinkedInMarketingTemplates.com helps business professionals network more effectively on LinkedIn so they can get more website traffic, prospects and profits. Now, with her free special report, you can uncover how you can become “the trusted source for your industry on LinkedIn” by avoiding her top 14 mistakes. Get this information for free at: http://www.GetLinkedInHelp.com

One Response to “LinkedIn Marketing Debate: Should Your LinkedIn Profile Be in 1st Person or 3rd Person?

    You have made some fantastic points in this article. Using social media should be a conversation, not simply broadcasting what you think is going to be perceived as value. What an employer or really any other network contact wants, is to understand the benefits of the features that you have and bring to the table. Think of a car, and it has features that will benefit you as an owner. A car gets good gas mileage which is a feature, the benefit to you is that you save money! Rather than use your LinkedIn profile as a soapbox to broadcast your verse, the more effective and more useful way to use your LinkedIn profile is to start a conversation and act like a real person.

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