Should LinkedIn Summaries be Written in First-Person? – CV Nation

Should LinkedIn Summaries be Written in First-Person?

Posted by Phillip Jewell on

When writing your summary on LinkedIn, you may be wondering if you should use first-person or third-person point-of-view. Both are widely used across LinkedIn and both have their respective advantages. So should you use first-person or third-person in your summary?

You should use first-person when writing your LinkedIn summary. As LinkedIn is a social media platform, where professionals attempt to connect with others, a person touch is required. Third-person is much less personal. As such, forging connections with other professionals would be more difficult when using third-person point-of-view. Use first person in your LinkedIn summary because it is more personal and will make a stronger impact on those who land on your profile.

Many people opt for third person in their LinkedIn summary because third person is recommended for CV and resume writing.

But your LinkedIn and your CV or resume are not one and the same. They have very different purposes. Your CV or resume has the objective of impressing hiring managers with your experience, skills and achievements.

While your LinkedIn profile should also impress hiring managers and recruiters, it also has the objective of building new relationships. To build new relationships, you need to do more than impress with your experiences and successes. You need to show your personality and open up.

This is why some people consider LinkedIn as Facebook for professionals.

So why is third-person not recommended?

Third-person is more passive. It reads as if someone else is speaking about you. It almost seems as if you didn’t write your LinkedIn summary yourself.

If you were trying to meet new people in person - rather than online - you probably wouldn’t use this approach. If you did, you would come across as distant. You probably wouldn’t be successful in building a relationship with the person.

Of course, you would use first-person instead. Everyone does.

So make sure you use first-person when writing your LinkedIn summary. It’s the best approach to ensure you have the strongest chance of forming new contacts with professionals and key decision-makers in your industry.

What is first-person?

For those who aren’t sure, it may be beneficial to understand what first-person actually is.

First-person is a mode of narrative in which the writer describes events from his or her own perspective. Writers using first-person use words such as ‘I’, ‘Us’ and ‘We’.

The easiest way to get your head around first-person is to think about the writing style in an autobiography. Imagine yourself writing an autobiography; the point-of-view you would use is first person.

Here is an example of a sentence written in first-person: 'I am Project Manager with over 12 years’ experience'.

What is third-person?

Third-person is used when the subject is being spoken about by the writer. This is the point-of-view that is most commonly used in fiction novels.

Here is the sentence we used in the example above written in third-person:

'He is a Project Manager with over 12 years’ experience'.

Don’t switch between first-person and third-person in your summary

Whether you decide to use first-person or third-person in your LinkedIn summary, never switch between the two. Not only will this confuse the reader, but it will also make you appear unprofessional.

Additionally, ensure you don't switch between first or third person and second person.

While it may seem obvious that this should be avoided, many people switch between first-person and second-person without realising they are doing it.

Here is an example of a sentence that switches between first-person and second-person:

'I worked as a Sales Executive for three years, where you had to close over 10 sales per week'.

In this example sentence, the writer starts out using first-person. Then, in the second half of the sentence, the writer switches to second-person.

This is how this sentence should read when written entirely in first-person:

'I worked as a Sales Executive, where I had to close over 10 sales per week'.

Using both first-person and third-person

Some people use both first-person and third-person in their LinkedIn profile. Those who do this usually write their summary in first-person and their work experience section in third-person.

To ensure your profile is consistent throughout, it is usually advised to choose one point-of-view and stick with it throughout your entire profile.

Are there benefits to using third-person?

One of the benefits to using third-person in your LinkedIn summary is that is reduces the use of the word ‘I’. The word 'I' often appears far too often when the writer uses the first-person point-of-view.

However, there a number of ways to avoid using the word ‘I’ too often in your LinkedIn summary, without having to resort to using first-person.

One approach is to move the word ‘I’ further along the sentence. This avoids the repetitive appearance of ‘I’ at the start of every sentence or paragraph.

Here is an example of a sentence that starts with the word ‘I’:

‘I am adept with all aspects of wind turbine maintenance and I have over 10 years’ experience in engineering’.

This could be changed to:

‘With over ten years’ engineering experience, I am adept with all aspects of wind turbine maintenance’.

Restructuring the sentence in this way makes for a much more pleasant reading experience in the first-person point-of-view.

Some people also believe third-person is more practical as most CVs and resumes are written in third-person.

But, as previously mentioned, CVs/resumes and LinkedIn profiles have different objectives. While your LinkedIn profile should correspond with your CV or resume, we don’t recommend using the same writing style.

CVs and resumes should use a more formal writing style. Rather than demonstrating candidates’ personality, CVs and resumes simply highlight the key information that hiring managers need. Of course, this key information should be presented in an engaging manner. But the writing shouldn’t be overly personal.

When deciding which point-of-view to use in your LinkedIn summary, it’s important to acknowledge this distinction between CVs/resumes and LinkedIn profiles.

Example of a LinkedIn summary written in first-person

I’ve been a Sales Director for over 10 years, specialising in the sale of software and IT solutions. Passionate about helping companies grow, I’ve been successful in securing multi-million-dollar contracts by bridging the gap between business and technology.

As a leader of a diverse Management team, each day I follow the famous Steve Jobs quote: ‘Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower’. My innovation has played a key role in generating business improvements. As an example, I conceptualised a new project to penetrate untapped markets in the Middle East. This led to a 14% revenue increase.

My areas of expertise extend to sales management, business development, strategy development, stakeholder management, go-to-market strategy development and digital marketing.

If you’re interested in learning more about me and how I can help your company grow, feel free to get in touch with me.

In this LinkedIn summary example, the writing is personal. It sounds as if the Sales Director is speaking to the reader in a casual manner.

Now, imagine if this summary was written in third-person. Would it make the same impact?

No. It would be awkward and distant.

Conclusion

Use first person point-of-view when writing your LinkedIn summary to make a strong impact on those who visit your profile. First-person is more personal than third-person, which is an important factor when attempting to build connections.

Hopefully you have found this guide helpful. If you would like further help with your LinkedIn profile, we offer a bespoke LinkedIn profile writing service. Get in touch with our professional writers to learn how we can optimise your LinkedIn profile.


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