Fiona Smith Columnist

Fiona writes on workplace issues, including management, psychology, workplace design, human resources and recruitment. She is a former Work Space editor at The Australian Financial Review and has also covered property, technology, architecture and general news.

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Your LinkedIn connections are gagging on gurus

Published 30 January 2013 17:26, Updated 16 April 2013 13:30

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Your LinkedIn connections are gagging on gurus

Gurus usually wear orange robes, not business suits. Photo: Discovery Channel

The average LinkedIn profile is looking as dull as the almost-redundant business card – full of boasts and tangled buzzwords that leave sensible readers gagging.

If you have to tell people that you’re an “authority”, you probably aren’t. If the achievements you list don’t broadcast your superiority, don’t claim it. “Gurus” wear orange robes, not suits. Other words likely to turn the stomach are “innovative”, “world class”, “results orientated” and “passionate”, ghostwriter and Inc columnist Jeff Haden says.

At a time when many are asking whether the resume is dead, anyone with an inactive or awful LinkedIn profile will find it reflects badly on them. To really show your creativity and stand out from the crowd, you need to do something different.

Singapore-based Peter Hepenstall’s LinkedIn profile went semi-viral after he impulsively wrote a creative summary above the details of his impressive career.

“I work for an investment bank. It mostly delights me. On occasions it embarrasses me. I travel a lot for my work. I love to swim & surf. The ocean is my friend. I recently discovered a love for mountains too. Big ones. I spend a lot of time on planes & like to read a lot. Sometimes I write. I like words,” he starts. “I talk to strangers. I talk a lot. Pat stray dogs. Stand up for old men and women on the train.”

Hepenstall, who also blogs about his expat experiences, says he has “copped heaps of criticism” about his profile’s appropriateness and supposed lack of professionalism. But he says it’s mostly friends and colleagues “taking the piss”.

“I have no idea (nor do I really care very much for that matter) what or if any impact it has on other people’s views on my professionalism,” he says, adding that traffic to his Nepal charity web page has risen as a result.

At least putting some imagination into your profile may stop plagiarists. One human resources managing partner this week complained that her “business offering and profile” had been ripped off, nearly word-for-word.

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