LinkedIn is a great platform to network with potential clients and employers. But are you creating the right impression with a profile headline that sounds pretentious?

Having scrolled through LinkedIn just the other day, I noticed a sudden increase in profiles with headlines that made me cringe. And these profiles almost always belonged to undergrads.

 

WhiIe it’s great that our local universities have finally acknowledged LinkedIn as the next big thing for job-hunting, they neglected telling students to be less “kiasu”. For non-Singaporeans, ‘kiasu’ refers to an attitude of being overly competitive for fear of losing out.

“Kiasu” Profile Headlines: Don’t Brag

Here’s the typical profile headline. Since its the holiday season, I’ve used Santa Junior to illustrate.

Pompous Santa Junior

Santa Junior is diligent and responsible, a promising undergraduate, creative and dynamic individual and so on. There is a difference between self-confidence and pompous self-flattery. Unfortunately, this example shows the latter.

By adding excessive descriptors in your profile headline, you are not only engaging in self-flattery but are telling others what to think about you. It does not work that way. You will only breed skepticism on your capabilities.

Put yourself in the shoes of a recruiter, partner or investor. If someone approaches you at a networking event to introduce himself with a countless number of positive adjectives, wouldn’t you feel irritated at being “told” what to think?

How Should LinkedIn Profile Headlines Be Crafted?

Allow others to judge your abilities for themselves. This applies to resumes as well. Showing and signalling your capabilities is far more effective than telling.

Show others who you are with the rest of your profile (i.e. the activities you’re involved in, the companies you’ve worked for, and so on). Don’t cram it all into the headline field.

Back to Santa Junior. What if he crafted his profile head line as:

Aspiring Santa Claus | North Pole University Undergraduate

Brevity makes a difference at clarifying who you are.

Share your thoughts in the comments section or tweet me. And Merry Christmas!

Pompous name card

Update: Take a look at this name card. 

Image from Business Insider

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