Building Brand ‘Exaggeration’
Sometimes your LinkedIn title can be a little ridiculous, and it is important to remember that not everyone is as they as appear on social media. Still below are some of my favorite examples of LinkedIn’s ‘building brand exaggeration.’
- Account Executive: A fancy way of saying sales.
- Senior Business Analyst: You do all the grunt work for a company.
- Executive Recruiter: A recruiter.
- Project Consultant: A consultant.
- Strategic Relationship Consultant: Headhunter or dating coach? You decide.
- Creative Strategist: I have no clue what this means.
- Assistant Vice President: Is this the vice president to the vice president? Or are you the assistant to the vice president?
How about the letters after people’s names?
CFA, JD, MD, CFP, LEEP, AP, PMP, PE – the list goes on.
No doubt a lot of these people are extremely well qualified and do great work. But regardless of their actual skill set, on the whole people tend to over exaggerate their experiences whether it is on LinkedIn, Facebook, online dating, or even resumes.
Economists call this ‘cheap talk’
Cheap talk basically states that in “some situations you have almost no choice but to lie or exaggerate about yourself, given that other people lie and exaggerate, people are going to discount what you say.”
Let’s use LinkedIn as an example. In an ideal world, everyone using LinkedIn would tell the exact truth about their work experience. But in reality, some people will exaggerate, and because some people exaggerate, soon everyone will exaggerate.
So if everyone exaggerates, potential employers will have no choice but to discount what you write on your profile, regardless if you are telling the truth. In the end it comes full circle. If you don’t slightly exaggerate your skillset on LinkedIn, you might appear less qualified than your peers.
Dating sites such as Match.com, okCupid, Tinder and eHarmony are notorious for this too. Are you really 6 feet tall or maybe just 5 foot 11? “Athletic and Toned” Let’s be honest you’re probably just average? Lastly, have you ever been on a Tinder date when your date didn’t appear quite as good as their photos? These are all examples of ‘cheap talk.’
The point I am trying to make is that while these online tools serve a good purpose, it is important to remember that not everything is as it appears online.