Yeah I said it…WTHDTEM… or as I like to call it, What The Heck Does That Even Mean?!?

You don’t have to look at many LinkedIn profiles to realize that every industry, company or organization create their own acronyms.  You have seen it before, JAVA, PHP, BI/BM Architect, Head of SP Cloud, MS Architectures, Cisco EMEAR, SAP MM/SP, SEO, CFMT, SCRUM, PMP — jargon gibberish.  It may make sense to your colleagues but it might be making an outsider’s head spin.

Does using these acronyms make me approachable?   Are you using your profile as a tool to clearly and concisely explain what you do?  More often than not you are probably confusing people.  In any position you are in you are going to have to deal with all facets of the organization.  Human resources, finance, sales, marketing and so on – each have their own acronyms to help speed up their day-to-day.




So should this alphabet soup be in your professional profile?

Here are 3 tips to help you answer whether to include the acronym:

  1. Is this a universal acronym (aka – did you learn it in high school?) Like FBI, HTML, URL
  2. Do people actually use the acronym instead of the term more often within your industry?
  3. Is this an internal-only acronym?

But, to be safe, and to make sure you are perceived as open, spell them out upon first note and put the acronym in parenthesis.

Would you know what this was if someone’s profile you were browsing had listed this current position?


Who got it?  This is really someone’s title…  It stands for Supply Chain Management Single Point of Contact-Project Lead Pacific-North West Division.  Now, I understand, a 13-word title is a little excessive and needs to be shortened internally.  But my point is that it comes off as gibberish, don’t come across aloof – come across as a thought leader, a teacher and an explainer.  By taking the time out to explain your acronyms you will be adding another layer of trust and transparency to your professional brand.

ACTION: Review your profile with special attention to acronyms – apply the rules and leave gibberish behind you.



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About the author

Melissa Kennedy

I am an innovative, practical problem-solver with an MBA. Pioneered one of the first social media strategic plans for a Fortune 100 company, including monthly online TV program viewed by 120,000 customers. Created a scalable channel marketing service model and established a new customer communication channel through partner web syndication. Developed marketing plan for start-up technology firm. Launched first comprehensive marketing campaign for major science and technology university's $1 Billion fund-raising effort. Award-winning performance for 15 years across functions, industries and organizations.

My passion for results goes beyond professional pursuits. I am a global facilitator and co-organizer of Startup Weekends and serve as an advocate and volunteer for many local charities including Food Bank of Central/Eastern NC, North Carolina International Affairs Council and Connected Women of North Carolina. Plus, I have served as the President for the Triangle Interactive Marketing Association,

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