When I was a child, my mother always used to say that I had brains, but no personality, and that my sister had tons of personality but no brains. The funny thing is, when someone sticks a label on you, especially someone in such a position of influence, that label sticks, and you start to believe it yourself. It took me a long time to understand that we all have a personality. It may be made up of positive traits such as honesty, creativity and imagination or negative traits such as being lazy, rude or self-centred, but they are there none the less. My mother simply equated being shy to having no personality.
So what does this actually have to do with LinkedIn?
Well, let me ask you a different question. If I took away your LinkedIn photo, would anyone reading your profile know it was actually you? Many of the profiles on LinkedIn conform to a corporate standard that almost de-humanises the people behind them. Their LinkedIn headline is their job title, their profile consists of a series of jobs, where they went to school and a couple of skills, but that’s it. When they write a description of their job, it reads like something the HR department wrote. Your LinkedIn profile shouldn’t just showcase your skills and experience, it should also showcase you, the person. It should showcase your personality.
Are you suppressing who you are to conform to someone else’s imagined standard?
A book that I’m reading at the moment is “Essentialism: The disciplined pursuit of less” by Greg McKeown, and one of the things that Greg states is that:
“If you don’t prioritise your life, someone else will”
[Tweet “If you don’t prioritise your life, someone else will – Greg McKeown”]
Only you can choose the life that you want to live, be the person you were meant to be and create an authentic brand that truly reflects who you are. LinkedIn is part of your professional personal brand, but when you look at creating that brand, there are three things that will separate you from all the other people in your industry:
- your personality. The different traits that make you, you. If you’re not sure, take a personality test such as Keirsey‘s or Myers-Briggs.
- your values. The things that are most important to you. Sometimes you notice them more when they’re lacking for example you may value time, and get annoyed with people who are always late. For me, my values are: family, compassion, creativity, innovation, independence and fun.
- your beliefs. The things that you believe are true, for example, all people should be treated fairly, we all deserve a second change or that you can’t do something because of something that happened in the past, or something someone said.
So, if you want to stand out from the crowd on LinkedIn, then try something really radical: put some personality into your profile, and be yourself.