Letting go of your achievements

I was helping a new consultant with her biography for the website today. Something I end up doing often is advising a consultant to leave stuff off that she (always she so far) has done and is rightly proud of. But why is this?

Basically we all have a short attention span. We all either stop reading long passages, or start skim reading, or when there’s loads of text, don’t bother at all. What we want is to be able to easily pick out what we’re looking for really quickly. That means two things. It means making sure your webpage profile (or profile on LinkedIn, or anywhere else) is concise. Don’t get really wordy and descriptive – people aren’t going to choose to work with you for your ability to write flowing passages of prose.

It also means get selective about what you include, and put yourself in the mindset of who you are aiming at. Just as you would tailor a CV to a job you are applying for, tailor your profiles to what you think your perfect client is looking for. But unlike a CV, leave everything else off.

If you’re aiming at a certain type of client and will be delivering specific services in a specific way, including lots of detail about really big, difficult or exciting things you’ve done before but which bear no relation or relevance to the clients you are aiming at is pointless. It just masks the important stuff they are looking for. You may be really proud of it, it might have been a big deal, you might have learned loads of really useful stuff that still may be helpful. But from your ideal client’s point of view, do they really care? Possibly not, and if so, time to let it go.

The same with qualifications – you may have worked really hard for them, but are they relevant to your ideal client? Will they even know what the qualifications actually are? If they’re not relevant or won’t mean much to your ideal client, consider leaving them off altogether, or describing them differently.

Your experiences and achievements are important and they got you to where you are now, but when you’re on social media or writing a profile for something business related in the course of self-employment, you might need to let them go, so that the stuff that is really important to a potential client has the chance to shine through, and doesn’t get lost amongst all the other bits they’re not bothered about.

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