The problem that so many of us Americans have is that we love ourselves.
This love tends to be all-encompassing, which means that we try and encompass everyone else with that self-love.
We don't realize, however, that sometimes we can sound a little too wonderful and this can put off potential clients or employers. A lot. We can also use words that sometimes mean slightly less than we'd like them to. Especially when we're presenting ourselves on LinkedIn.
Here are the 6 worst things you can call yourself on LinkedIn. Please check them against your own profile. Just, you know, in case you think you're that wonderful.
1. VISIONARY. What are you, a clairvoyant? Someone with special powers? You probably think that you are. However, one part of vision is envisioning what others will think of your self-description. Describing yourself as a visionary is telling other people that you're more existentially exalted than they are. That isn't very visionary.
2. INSPIRATIONAL LEADER. Says who? Do you have a list of those you inspired? (No, that wasn't a serious question.) You're going to tell me that all those people who have recommended you on LinkedIn actually have the merest tinge of objectivity? Or are you going to tell me that they recommended you because you recommended them? And you recommended them because LinkedIn suggested you should. That wasn't very inspired of you.
3. SUCCESSFUL. I've noticed this word on a lot of LinkedIn profiles. I think it's there for the person who wrote the profile. They need to remind themselves that they're successful. They worry that they're not. They also need to believe that other people are failures. But success and failure are movable beasts. As words of self-description, they actually mean nothing. Except in your shrink's office.
4. THOUGHT LEADER. Someone in marketing must have invented this one. Does it mean: "My thoughts are better than yours?" Does it mean: "People can't wait to hear the next thing that comes out of my brain?" Or might it signify: "I'm trying to make myself sound important here and I hope I get away with it."?
5. CONCEPTUAL THINKER. Please forgive me for asking, but what does this mean? Does it mean that you have a grasp of mental concepts? Doesn't everyone, at least to some extent? Are you trying to say that you have lots of ideas? Or that you think in ideas? Or that when you think you don't just think of ice cream and butterflies and sunny days? Could it be that you're saying that you had no idea what to write and this sounded good?
6. PURPOSE-DRIVEN. I worry. You're driven by a purpose, as opposed to a whim? But what if your purpose is whimsical? What if your purpose is money? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I went to a thesaurus, fascinated by what might be the opposite of purpose. I was given "aimlessness," "neglect" and "oversight." You're telling me you're not driven by aimlessness? OK. So you wrote that on purpose?
I just went to the LinkedIn page of Jeff Weiner, the company's CEO. He describes himself as "a successful, inspirational leader who's purpose-driven and thinks conceptually."
Actually, he doesn't.