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Christopher Thompson's Closing the Deal: Don't try so hard to stand out on LinkedIn

July 07. 2018 6:18PM
 (Metro Creative Connection)

It's a competitive world out there. Regardless of what type of business you are in, you're likely battling every day with your competition and finding new and unique ways to differentiate yourself. And just as companies strive for ways to stand out in the crowd, individuals do the same.

Unfortunately, the tactics some people use to stand out can make you scratch your head and wonder what they were thinking when they thought it was a good idea to do what they did.

Anything related to your personal brand is very important to protect. From the people you associate with to how you share your opinions on social media channels, careful consideration should be given before you do anything that has the potential to cause controversy and potentially offend or turn people off.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't have a voice and a backbone, but it does mean that you should think long and hard about the repercussions your actions will have in both the short and long term.

Some people don't care. I'm sure you've seen plenty of examples of this throughout your career. Sometimes people just make really bad decisions and take actions that ultimately prove to be catastrophic to their personal brand and career. Like the disgruntled employee who bashes a former employer to anyone who will listen, these types of behaviors are never good, and the majority of the time, they have the opposite effect than the individual was hoping for.

But what I find most interesting are the weird, quirky and sometimes inappropriate things people do that really hurt them professionally. And most of the time, these bad decisions are made on public social medial platforms like Facebook, or public professional sites like LinkedIn. And when it comes to your professional image and reputation, Linked In is the worst place to botch something.

Here are a few of the weird and annoying things I've seen people do that impact their reputation and personal brand in a negative way:

Altering their LinkedIn headline: Almost every business professional I know has a LinkedIn profile. It's an amazing tool. Within your LinkedIn profile, there is a headline section that shows up next to your name when people search for or see your profile.

By default, the headline is the title of your current role. But some people change it. And they put things in the headline that are ridiculously annoying and painful to read. You'll see headlines like, "Bringing companies together through technology, innovation and data." Or you'll see something like, "Hard worker dedicated to servicing my clients and going above and beyond."

To me these headlines and comments are really useless. Most of the time, they don't even make sense. I'm sure the expert social sellers will disagree with me, but sorry. I cringe every time I see one of those stale headlines in someone's profile.

Letters after their name: With the exception of doctors, my personal belief is listing letters after your name that represent certifications or education is unnecessary and even more annoying than the altered LinkedIn headline.

My least favorite is the MBA. It would look like this: Chris Thompson, MBA.

I mean give me a break. Get over it.

I don't have an MBA, but I can promise you 99 percent of people that do don't feel the need to put it at the end of their name. You're not a doctor. No one is impressed, so top trying to show off. It's unnecessary, makes you look ridiculous and turns people off. Nobody cares about your certifications and education, so update your profile and delete those letters after your name.

Liking and commenting on everything: To me, a like or a comment on something someone posts is special. A comment is usually well thought out, or at least it better be, because everyone can see it. And a like is a nice gesture that I'll do to decent posts, compelling content or big announcements. But there's nothing worse than the people who scroll through their news feed and like or comment on every single post they come across.

Over-liking (should be a new word) and obsessively commenting on posts truly diminishes the value of your gesture and makes it look like you're boosting your activity just to be seen and get more attention on LinkedIn.

Christopher Thompson ( is the vice president of business development at Talient Action Group in Manchester and writes Closing the Deal weekly for the Sunday News.

Business Technology Christopher Thompson's Closing The Deal

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