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The LinkedIn Cardinal Sins: Pride

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In the first article of this series, we explored how Sloth and its children of laziness and procrastination can damn your LinkedIn efforts. However, while the effects of half measures are obvious, Pride can be a confusing “sin” on LinkedIn. After all, aren’t we here to promote ourselves?

Unfortunately, that underlying attitude is the exact PROBLEM with LinkedIn. Regardless of your agenda on LinkedIn – to generate business or find a job – being overly self-absorbed will be a detriment to your efforts. And that is the essence of Pride as a LinkedIn cardinal sin.

Sin of Pride – Preoccupation with Self and Excessive Belief in One’s Abilities

The sin of pride is a preoccupation with self. But how can we tell if we are preoccupied with self? It comes down to motives. It doesn’t take very long to see when someone is trying to use you on LinkedIn. Chances are, you’ve seen it yourself: you accept an invitation to connect from someone you don’t really know, only to be hit up with a request to take his resume to your boss. Obviously, the person didn’t care about you at all, only his own motives of getting a job.

The other half of this sin is the excessive belief in one’s abilities. Obviously, some people like to pack their profile. But if the skills, achievements, or even jobs aren’t in line with reality (or your resume), this leads to a quick and nasty fall.

Let’s look at the ways that Pride can poison our genuine networking efforts:

1.       Is your Profile self-absorbed?

This is the hardest test on LinkedIn. After all, we DO want to promote our best qualities, skills, achievements, and experience. However, the problem lies in WHO are you writing FOR. In other words, all of your great qualities need to relate to your purpose on LinkedIn.

I tell my clients all the time that their resumes are not actually about them; they are all about the EMPLOYERS and their needs. LinkedIn Profiles are the same. Think of what kind of problems you solve for your intended audience (clients or employers) and then write your Profile from their perspective. Do these awards or achievements help them understand how you can assist them? Does your experience reflect facts that are relevant?

2.       Are your achievements, skills, and experience honest?

More and more companies are accepting LinkedIn as the avenue to apply for a job. As such, ALL of your Profile must be an accurate portrayal of your abilities. After all, more companies are also doing skills and personality testing prior to hire, and if you don’t meet the expectations of that boastful Profile, it will not go well for you.

3.       Are you willing to listen to other people’s point of view?

One of the reasons why I join Groups on LinkedIn is to not only share my knowledge but to gain input from others. In fact, some of the Groups I enjoy the most are ones related to my own profession, where I read articles and discussions to continue my own professional development. I may have interesting ideas, but they aren’t the only ones out there.

When I get involved in any conversation online, I like to read the points being made before passing judgment. Sometimes I don’t agree with the stance that other resume writers take, and I will point out my reasons in the discussion. However, I don’t just beat people into submission with all my grand “over 10 years of experience in leading job seekers to fabulous jobs!” That’s a very prideful statement and doesn’t lead to intelligent discourse.

4.       Are you only doing self-promotion?

In social media, most people are turned off by the intense sales pitch of yesteryear. One of my personal pet peeves are the “articles” that are thinly veiled heavy-handed advertisements. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m okay with telling people what you sell. It’s the tone and messaging that needs to be adjusted for social selling over advertising.

Personally, I prefer a program of attraction over blatant promotion. My own strategy is to share quality content instead of pushing my agenda. I’d rather build a relationship with a new contact and then see how I can help her. Even when posting articles, I keep to the strategy of quality content that offers real insight. This ensures that my content won’t get shuffled off to spam because of archaic marketing techniques.

Overcoming Pride:

First and foremost, keeping your intended purpose and audience on LinkedIn will help break the self-absorption cycle. Two other key factors can help as well-

a.       What do others say about you?

While tooting your own horn is great, gathering Recommendations is a solid way to prove those achievements and traits. These aren’t the simple “clicks” on your skills, but actual written recommendations from your Connections. Let them state the glowing praise for a more genuine display of how great you are.

use LinkedIn recommendations to prove your worth

b.       Do you have something to offer others?

One possible way to overcome pride is through service. When I approach people with the attitude of “what can I do to help you?” I get better results. As a job seeker, this is solving problems for the potential employer. For a businessperson seeking sales, this is the solutions their service or product offers. Even if neither of these fit your situation, sharing quality content within your Groups that is within the Group’s area of interest will naturally build your reputation.

What do you have to give?

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About the Author:

Since 2004, Donna has been teaching job seekers of all levels effective job search strategies. In 2009, she published her book "Get a Job Without Going Crazy: a Practical Guide to Your Employment Search." Donna is based in Denver, and has presented workshops in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Dallas. She continues to work with job seekers across the country.
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