“I run toward fires.” That phrase showed up on a LinkedIn profile I recently viewed, and it has been bugging me ever since.
Resumes and LinkedIn profiles are marketing documents. As such, they need to be engaging, informative and compelling. Powerful language is a key part of achieving those critical objectives. However, there is a point where powerful language veers into hyperbole. And hyperbole can work against you.
“I run toward fires” is hyperbole.
To be certain, there are people who will read a phrase like “I run toward fires” and think 'cool, this candidate is not afraid to take on difficult tasks.' However, there are also many people who will think, 'This candidate doesn’t know which way to run when something is burning.' One reader will see a risk taker and the other will see someone who has poor judgment. There in lies the problem. Hyperbole leaves way too much room for interpretation.
When developing personal marketing like a resume and LinkedIn profile, remember to balance powerful language and self-assessments with clear achievements and un-ambiguous facts. That way you won’t get burned by misinterpretation.