How to Add Personality to Your Personal Brand

“85% of your financial success is due to your personality, ability to communicate, negotiate and lead. Only 15% is dependent on technical skills.”
Carnegie Institute of Technology

The challenge we are facing is that whether you believe the often misquoted figures that our attention spans are less than goldfish they are plummeting. The average adult can only focus for 20 minutes. And I know having two teenagers in the house it can be a whole lot less.

[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]LinkedIn data tells us that you have 5-10 seconds to make a first impression online. So how can you do that with your LinkedIn profile, so you don’t get left swiped?[/tweet_box]

We need to get away from the perception that people have of the platform. It originally was more of a job board and a resume bank. And while a lot of LinkedIn’s revenues still depend on that model, many more people are now using the platform to build their presence, businesses, as well as careers.

When it comes to Business 2 Business, it is THE source for leads from social media, outpacing both Facebook and Twitter combined. Regardless of why you have a platform, for many of you, it might be the first digital impression that people have of you, or indeed the first professional impression online.

Just because more people own a smartphone now than a toothbrush, we can’t ignore the fact people still buy from people that we know, like, and trust. With in-person interactions we always ask ourselves, Can I trust this person? Can I respect this person? What Amy Cuddy calls warmth and competence. We are looking for a combination of the human touch and technology, which means we want real-time information and relevant content, yet it still boils down to wanting to get to know someone, and that is determined by your personality.

[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]According to LinkedIn data, 87% of recruiters are looking for your personality to be displayed in your profile. We can be pretty sure that similar numbers apply to other business people.[/tweet_box]

In my time looking at 1,000’s of LinkedIn profiles what I find is that most of you are not leveraging the key areas of your profile where you can display your personality.

Part of the problem is the platform itself because when we all do the minimum, we run the risk of even making Shakespeare sound boring. If you conduct an experiment using the LinkedIn online impression timeline of 5-10 seconds, and you had to choose the one word that you think best captures your personal brand essence and makes an impact on the next person you meet, what is it?

If one of the attributes you chose was Passionate, Creative, Experienced, Strategic, Focused, Specialized, Leadership, Expert, Certified or Excellent they are all good words to pick. However, they will not necessarily differentiate you, because, these are the top 10 buzzwords that LinkedIn recommends you remove from your profile because they are overused and lack meaning or differentiation anymore.

What can you do instead?

Here are five solutions for your professional brand story to be told with personality.

1. Words make all the difference.

Don’t be hard on yourself if you had one of those top 10, using buzzwords is easy, it takes less thought, and we can avoid specifics, everyone else does it anyway, it helps us feel like we belong. Keywords are what you want to use. You need to be able to identify both your rational and emotional attributes. Rational are things you do so naturally and so well, your core strengths. Emotional are your differentiators, reasons why someone will work with you or for you, do business with you or hire you.

2. Tell a story; branding is about story telling.

You must control this.

[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]It is up to you to own the definition of who you are. Be sure that your professional persona is not telling the wrong story about your personal brand.[/tweet_box]

Make your profile engaging and exciting. Your LinkedIn profile is your personal profile, so write it in the first person, after all, you are not the Queen.

3. Your Summary is prime real estate.

This is THE place to communicate your personal brand where you have up to 2000 characters to tell your brand story. It cannot all be about you because after all Who cares? Tell people what you do, who you do it for, your achievements, even testimonials, why it matters and how they can get in touch, make it easy for them to take the next step.

4. Picture Say a Thousand Words

Make sure you add visual media to your profile, in both the Summary AND Experience sections. Making your profile more visually attractive is particularly pertinent because of the new User Interface that is rolling out right now.

5. Less is More.

The new User Interface experience is very similar to the mobile app. The first 20-30 words of your Summary are now critical and has to be compelling enough to make a viewer of your profile click on the See More link. Otherwise, they are just going to scroll right on by. Around 50% -60% of users have the new desktop look and when you do get it be sure to go over every detail because of the look, feel, and dimensions have changed, and this will impact how your professional presence is perceived.

So if you do all that, is it enough. Simple answer NO. Now you have to be involved in the platform; you have to what LinkedIn calls Raise Your Interest Factor. Connect, Curate, Create, Collaborate – Have a plan, know what to expect, Invest time in the platform, Don’t sell, become a professional problem solver. 5 minutes a day is enough because people are not here all the time, not even every day.

I encourage you that if you are excited about what you do, reflect it in your profile with personality.

Further reading:

5 Ways to Get Your Personal Brand Noticed Online

7 Steps to an Authentic Personal Brand 

5 Superbowl Lessons for your Personal Brand


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