Watch Your Words on LinkedIn

Jul 2012

twNo, this post isn’t an admonition to can the foul language on the world’s largest business networking site. (You shouldn’t need me to tell you that, right? … Ri-i-i-i-ight?)

It’s about the words you use in your profile, especially in your job title and your summary. Because when it comes to the social Web, not all words are created equal. Some are better than others.

To illustrate this point, Social Scientist Dan Zarrella examined the words used in the titles and summaries of more than 40,000 randomly selected profiles and correlated them with the number of connections in the person’s network. Some of the results may surprise you:


So, does this mean that if you’re a therapist or a pastor, you’re doomed to LinkedIn obscurity? Absolutely not.

The thing to remember is that you are in control of the words that describe you. So don’t feel you’re limited by what’s on your business card. Phrase your title and summary in terms of what you offer instead of the label you’ve been assigned.

One thing you’ll notice about the 20 most-connected list is that there are quite a few non-traditional job titles in there, like “networker,” “connector,” and “angel.” And you’ll notice the bottom 20 list is packed with traditional resumé foder like “autocad,” “nursing,” and “technician.”

Remember, your job title and summary, along with your profile picture, is the first impression people will get of you when they find you on LinkedIn. Make sure those words create an engaging, dynamic introduction that makes people feel good about connecting with you.

So, is your LinkedIn title and summary up to the challenge of engaging would-be connectors, or is it still a bit too literal? Share your thoughts with us in the comments—we’d love to hear from you!

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