According to LinkedIn, there are 6,214 Ninjas, 65,994 gurus, 5,330 wizards, and 1,525 Jedis. Based on those statistics, may I suggest that no one use any of these terms as job titles or to convey their expertise? Let me explain why.
While it might seem cool to differentiate yourself from others by referring to yourself as a ninja but, if people are looking for help, especially if you are in sales, then they are not looking for a ninja. They are looking for a solution to their problem, and their problem is not that they lack a ninja. They have a pain point or an unmet need, or their business does, and they need a solution.
Instead of confusing people with vague terms or tasking them with trying to differentiate the level of skills and expertise a guru or a Jedi might have, make it easy for them to determine whether or not you are the person who can help or who can provide a solution to their problem.
You should be using titles and terms in your summary that are buyer-centric, that make it clear what you do, for whom you do it, and that prove you can help. Buyers want to be confident in you and your abilities and referring to yourself as a guru feels self-appointed rather than earned.
It is not about focusing on how you crushed quotas or reached President's Club five years running either. It is about conveying skills, expertise, and a proven track record of solving problems and addressing pain points.
If you emphasize sales prowess over problem-solving, then you risk leading prospects to think that your focus is on your goals and associated rewards rather than on their needs, unmet or otherwise.
Furthermore, the silly job titles don't ingratiate you with prospects, especially if they are making snap decisions based on your LinkedIn profile alone. Don't make it hard for them figure out who can help them and, on the other hand, don't make it easy for them to ignore you because of the words you chose to use to describe yourself.
Based on the number of instances where those terms appeared, they do little to help people stand out from the rest. After all, if you choose to use guru to differentiate yourself, then you are assuming that that is precisely the kind of person people are seeking. Ask yourself, "When was the last time you desperately need a "guru"?" or "You know what we need in this instance? A Jedi."
I know it sounds silly but why then have so many chosen an approach that does more harm than good for their personal brand or their discoverability. Just think of the missed opportunities because people are looking for expertise, skills, and experience rather than Jedis or gurus.
Do yourself a favour and tailor your titles and terms to what people need, want, and research rather than run the risk of fewer or no inquiries at all. I am sure you do not want to discover that calling yourself a guru did your more harm than good.
If you have other examples of silly titles or terms that you think people should avoid in their LinkedIn profile then be sure to share them. The many gurus, wizards, ninjas and Jedis will thank you.
About the Author:
Andrew Jenkins is Founder and Principal of Volterra, a professional services firm that has provided social media strategy, outsourced social media management, content development and planning, and social selling training to numerous mid to large enterprises. Andrew has spent the last twenty years working in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) spanning social media, wireless, and e‐business throughout North America and Europe. He has been identified as a social selling expert and has been featured in LinkedIn marketing campaigns, most recently as one of ten Canadian success stories. He speaks regularly at conferences and events about social media and social selling. He is a member of the Board of the Direct Marketing Association of Canada. He holds a BA in Economics from Laurentian University, a BFA in Film Production from York University, and an MBA from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. He also taught entrepreneurship at OCAD University and currently teaches Digital Strategy at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any of the companies, products and services mentioned within this article.