Describing Yourself In a Handful Of Words

A sense of humor is one of my most favorite traits in people. In anyone. Be it a friend, a teacher, a colleague, the mailman, a waiter, a young kid. Life, both personal and professional, has its moments and humor is often the best tool to put things into perspective. I came across the LinkedIn profile of a colleague acquaintance of mine a bit ago, and laughed at the way he described himself: human being. His sense of humor hadn’t come across in our professional dealings together; I guess mine hadn’t either. Seems we could have made our shared frustration with another colleague a little more palatable, even entertaining, if we’d just let down the guard a bit.

But is it a risk to be seemingly flip on this Daddy of all professional networking sites? He’s kind of making fun of it, and everyone else who takes the whole thing more seriously. He’s got a big job, so I guess he can afford it without really thinking anything of it. I don’t, and so I’m overthinking it.

When I left OppenheimerFunds, I had to describe myself as something over than VP, Brand Strategy and Advertising. So… what am I? Good question. Creative Brand Marketer for now. It’s true, at least it’s true when I’m working, but is that the best I can do? Does it even matter? It is hard to distill yourself down into one short quip, have it feel accurate, credible, noteworthy – whatever it is that little phrase is supposed to be.

Still another one of my LinkedIn contacts, this one a former boss who, while I’m certain comes across as a little bit crazy for those who don’t know her, is as big, confident, smart and persuasive a marketer as you’ll ever find, uses I’m the Michael Bay of business. This is a familiar approach we marketers take when attempting to describe a new product or brand to outsiders: take a familiar figure/brand/company and adopt its USP as a shortcut. People get it faster. Smart approach here, I’d say, though I’m not sure I have the confidence to say I’m the Apple of Marketers, nor would that check my accurate and credible boxes.

But wait, I just went to look back at my former boss’ profile to ensure I got the exact words right. And I see she’s changed it to her current role. I wonder why. Perhaps because it has “Porn” in the title it will do just fine. Certainly will attract more eyeballs than “Creative Brand Marketer,” though her attracted eyeballs might not all be the right ones. Anyway…

All of this got me thinking: what if I got more creative in my description? The phone won’t stop ringing! The opportunities will come flooding in! The offers will be un-rejectable! But seriously, good idea? Bad idea? Doesn’t matter in the slightest? Some thoughts: 

  • Bored Job Seeker Fairly accurate, though probably not how I want to come across as a prospect – hiring managers want to see ENERGY! EXCITEMENT! 
  • Lady Who Lunches (but no longer wants to) This is only kind of true – find any 20+ year professional who will tell you otherwise and isn’t lying
  • Desperately Seeking S….omething other than early retirement Think people will get the Desperately Seeking Susan thing or will they think I’m just desperate? And if they get the Desperately Seeking Susan thing, will it be obvious I’m old? I’m told saying 20+ years experience is a no no. 
  • The one you want to hire Bold, could be true depending on the role but obnoxiously off-putting
  • I’d like to work again Maybe too honest, and sounds kind of pathetic and sad, and I’m neither of those things
  • Available and Awesome I am indeed available and do happen to think that I’m pretty awesome when it comes to what I know best but likely too much 
  • Outstanding Human Being A deliberate take on the original, but inside jokes don’t work on big public sites… and might be hard to justify the “outstanding” part unless I put you in touch with my ten-year-old
  • Do great work and have fun doing it Now this is a different approach – use this section to share my motto. I might like this one. 
  • “The best client I’ve ever worked with.” Having a source is good! And this is a real quote that’s even in my recommendation section, but blech. 
  • Marketer, though currently beachgoer, bookreader, lunchmaker, tennisplayer, kidpickerupper This says I’m out of a job in a refreshing way, but doesn’t say that I want a new one
  • Save me from early retirement and I’ll make your brand matter Self-effacing yet bold. I kind of like this one. 
  • Look no further. I’m the one. Funny. Like, gotcha! I know what you’re doing spying on my profile so I’ll try to make you laugh a little. And I’m clearly playing, not serious.
  • Your next employee Meh, less funny version of above
  • Brand, advertising, media – all that stuff This may come off as flip but also could serve to communicate everything I know how to do fairly succinctly 
  • Brands make or break business This is my true contention and it’s important when the future of brand marketing is so tenuous given AI and the like. I like this one. 
  • Good Wife Addict Very true, and I have a good friend to blame for it but ugh, again too cute AND this show is very old (though not as old as Desperately Seeking Susan is a movie) and could make me look very out of touch – though could get lucky if the hiring manager shares in my addiction?

Taglines, headlines, CTAs, proof points. Tried a bunch of approaches. I am partial to “Brands make or break business” and “Do great work and have fun doing it,” but neither is funny, and the power of funny is how I started off this post. Perhaps I’ve subconsciously determined that funny really doesn’t have a place here, or perhaps I just don’t have the balls to leverage it. Or maybe I could pair one of these more serious approaches with a lighter picture…. or one of the lighter approaches with a more serious picture?

Has anyone else ever spent this much time thinking about this? I have my first career coach meeting on Wednesday and I’ll ask the expert if I just completely wasted two hours of my time (although it won’t all be a waste – I kind of enjoyed it and that sure counts for something.)

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