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Deciding on First or Third Person for Your LinkedIn Profile: What Business Leaders Need to Know

Reading Time: 9 minutes

If you are a business leader, LinkedIn is one of the most important social media platforms to have a presence on. It’s a powerful tool for networking, building your brand, and attracting potential clients and customers. One of the most important aspects of your LinkedIn profile is your bio – the section that gives a snapshot of who you are, what you do, and why you’re worth connecting with. But when it comes to writing your bio, you might be wondering: should you write it in first or third person?

Table of Contents

Understanding the Difference Between First and Third Person

Writing in the first person means that the writer is telling the story or expressing their thoughts and feelings using “I” or “we” pronouns. This perspective allows the reader to see the story or experience through the writer’s eyes and experience their emotions and thoughts firsthand.

For example, a sentence written in first person might be: “I woke up early this morning and felt refreshed.”

On the other hand, writing in the third person means that the writer is telling the story from an outside perspective, using pronouns such as “he,” “she,” or “they.” This perspective can create distance between the reader and the story, but it can also provide a broader, more objective view of the events.

For example, a sentence written in third person might be: “She woke up early that morning and felt refreshed.”

Overall, the choice between first and third person will depend on the writer’s intended effect and the type of story or text they are creating.

Businesswoman with speech bubble - First vs Third Person Language

Pros and Cons of Writing Your LinkedIn Bio in First Person

Writing your LinkedIn bio in first person has its own set of pros and cons, which are as follows:

Pros:

  1. Personal touch: Writing in the first person makes your LinkedIn bio more personal and engaging, which can help you establish a connection with your audience.

  2. Authenticity: Using “I” or “we” pronouns in your bio can give a more authentic feel to your profile, as it helps showcase your personality and values.

  3. Storytelling: Writing in first person allows you to tell your story, which can be more compelling and memorable for readers.

Cons:

  1. Lack of professionalism: Writing in the first person may come across as less professional or less objective, especially if you are in a formal industry.

  2. Ego-centric: Using “I” too often may give off an impression that you are too self-centered or self-promoting, which can be a turn-off for some readers.

  3. Limited scope: Writing in first person may limit the scope of your bio to your personal experiences and achievements, which may not highlight your overall skills or expertise.

Overall, the decision to write your LinkedIn bio in first person or third person should be based on your audience, your industry, and your personal preferences. It’s important to strike a balance between personalization and professionalism, so that your LinkedIn bio accurately represents you and your brand.

Business leader

Pros and Cons of Writing Your LinkedIn Bio in Third Person

Writing your LinkedIn bio in third person also has its own set of pros and cons, which are as follows:

Pros:

  1. Professionalism: Writing in the third person can make your bio more professional, especially if you are in a formal industry or aiming to present a more objective image of yourself.

  2. Objectivity: Using “he,” “she,” or “they” pronouns can provide a more objective view of your skills and accomplishments, which can help establish credibility with your audience.

  3. Flexibility: Writing in third person allows you to highlight your skills and achievements without focusing solely on your personal experiences, which can make your bio more versatile.

Cons:

  1. Impersonal: Writing in the third person may make your bio seem impersonal or detached, which can make it harder for readers to connect with you on a personal level.

  2. Lack of authenticity: Using third person pronouns can create a sense of distance between you and your audience, which may make it harder for them to relate to you.

  3. Awkward phrasing: Writing in third person can sometimes result in awkward phrasing or sentence structures, which can make your bio harder to read or understand.

Overall, the decision to write your LinkedIn bio in first person or third person should be based on your goals, your audience, and your personal brand. It’s important to find a tone and style that accurately represents you and your expertise, while still being professional and engaging.

Should You Write Your LinkedIn Bio in First or Third Person?

The decision to write a LinkedIn profile in first or third person largely depends on the personal branding and communication style of the business leader. However, here are some general considerations:

First person is generally appropriate if the business leader wants to create a more personal and engaging connection with their audience. It can be useful for highlighting personal values, telling their story, and creating a sense of authenticity. This approach can work well for leaders in industries such as creative, marketing, or entrepreneurship, where personal branding and networking are highly valued.

Third person is generally appropriate if the business leader wants to establish a more formal or objective tone, such as when promoting a corporate brand or representing a company in a more professional context. This approach can be useful for highlighting the achievements, skills, and credentials of the business leader, while keeping a distance from the reader. This approach can work well for leaders in industries such as finance, law, or technology, where professionalism and credibility are highly valued.

Ultimately, the choice of first or third person should depend on the goals, audience, and personal branding strategy of the business leader. Regardless of the approach chosen, it is important to ensure that the LinkedIn profile is professional, engaging, and reflects the values and expertise of the business leader.

 

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Are Business leaders using first or third person language?

I browsed the first 100 CEOs in my network and below is what I found:

  • 28 CEOs used first person language.
  • 66 CEOs used third person language.
  • 6 had no information in both their about section and work history.

These results demonstrate how subjective personal branding is and reinforces that your LinkedIn Profile should be based on your goals, audience, and personal brand strategy.

Current LinkedIn Profiles of Business Leaders

Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis

ABOUT SECTION:

“I never lose my sense of wonder at how science-based progress is leading to longer, healthier lives and a better world.

At Novartis, we’re reimagining medicine with innovative science and technology to address some of society’s most intractable and long-standing health issues. We discover and develop breakthrough treatments and find new ways to deliver them to as many people as possible around the globe.

As CEO, I’ve worked to focus our company and unleash the power of our people to spur breakthrough innovation. Unbossed leadership is at the center of it all, and I believe it’s the kind of leadership that will enable humanity to overcome our greatest challenges and seize our most promising opportunities.

I hope you’ll follow this page and engage with me on my journey to reimagine leadership and inspire a healthier world.”

Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer

ABOUT SECTION:

“Albert Bourla leads Pfizer in its purpose, Breakthroughs that change patients’ lives, with a focus on driving the scientific and commercial innovation needed to have a transformational impact on human health. When he became CEO in 2019, Albert accelerated Pfizer’s transformation to become a more science-driven, innovative company and fostered a culture in which people and science could thrive.

During his more than 25 years at Pfizer, Albert has built a diverse and successful career, holding senior positions across a range of markets and disciplines, which has informed his understanding of the needs of patients and deepened his commitment to helping ensure equitable access to medicines and vaccines.”

Helen Lamprell, OBE, General Counsel & Company Secretary at AVEVA Group plc

ABOUT SECTION:

“I’m a strong believer in the power of businesses to drive positive change, from the empowerment of women and girls to the treatment of mental health in the workplace. I have over two decades’ experience in the provision of expert counsel for businesses, with over half of that spent at Vodafone. On 1 November 2021 I will join AVEVA, a global leader in industrial software. I’m looking forward to helping drive this hugely dynamic business at a time when digital transformation and sustainability has never been so important …”

Helen Lamprell, OBE, General Counsel & Company Secretary at AVEVA Group plc

ABOUT SECTION:

“Arianna Huffington is the founder and CEO of Thrive, the founder of The Huffington Post, and the author of 15 books, including “Thrive” and “The Sleep Revolution.” In 2016, she launched Thrive, a leading behavior change tech company with the mission of changing the way we work and live by ending the collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success.

She has been named to Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people and the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union …”

Update Your LinkedIn Profile

Recent Survey Result For Updating Your LinkedIn Profile

I recently conducted a survey on LinkedIn asking our community when they last updated their LinkedIn Profile.  The results were shocking.  Nearly half of all respondents hadn’t updated their LinkedIn Profile in over a year.  Use the start of each quarter as a reminder to update your LinkedIn Profile with your latest skills, certifications and achievements.  That way you are more likely to attract for more senior opportunities.

Personality assessments are becoming increasingly popular in job applications. I discuss how to take personality assessments when applying for a new role.

Final Thoughts

As a business leader, the most important thing is to make sure your LinkedIn bio accurately reflects your goals, audience, and personal branding strategy. Whether you choose to write in first or third person, make sure your bio is well-written, concise, and highlights your unique value proposition. Remember that your LinkedIn profile is often the first impression people will have of you online, so make it count.

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From Invisible To Invincible: Boosting Your LinkedIn Visibility

Do you need help optimising your LinkedIn Profile?

Dave Crumby

I have helped countless professionals in over 20 countries to optimise their LinkedIn Profiles for job opportunities.  From helping these professionals , I have created best practices which I have bundled into a LinkedIn Masterclass.  Are you interested in attending?

Email me today.

Best of luck,

Dave Crumby

Your Career Optimiser | Certified Leadership and Management Consultant

Winner of Most Supportive Career Branding Service 2022

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