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On many different professional profiles (Linked-In, personal website, StackExchange sites etc) I see some users writing their biographies in first person and others in third person. I feel like third person gives off an arrogant attitude that I think I am so important that others would write about me.

What factors should I consider when choosing to write these types of statements in either the first or third person?

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    I clarified and focused your question on the generic problem a bit more, let me know if this modifies your intent too much. Great question, btw. enderland is curious too. – enderland Oct 17 '13 at 17:46
  • @enderland Paul sees what you did there. Thanks for the improvement. – CincinnatiProgrammer Oct 17 '13 at 18:37
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Never refer to yourself in the third person. If it's autobiographical, make it personal and from you. Always treat your profiles as if you were meeting someone on the street and they had asked you to quickly tell them about you. This is a "dialog" between you and the reader, and unless you're describing someone else it should be specifically from you.

Picture this in your mind:

Supermodel in a smoky pub setting: So tell me about yourself.

Paul: He's inquisitive, brainy, educated and really good at performing compound physical tasks.

Just doesn't quite ring right.

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    Note the question has nothing to do with interviewing - it's about the content which basically is a self-description or biography. – enderland Oct 17 '13 at 17:47
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    @enderland: I used the concept of interviewing as an example. Any profile on a website is an introduction of yourself to the viewer for whatever the purpose. However, I'll make an edit, just for you. Because you're super swell. – Joel Etherton Oct 17 '13 at 17:53
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Executive Summary

As with many things, there is no black-and-white right-or-wrong answer. Focus on content, and then default to whatever style makes you more comfortable.

Content > Style

Which one of these employees would you hire:

Employee A

I am someone who learns from my mistakes. I have been fired from Spacely Sprockets dozens of times for all sorts of errors, but to my credit, I have never been fired for the same mistake twice. That type of adaptability and resilience would be a credit to any organization.

Employee B

George Jetson has 20 years of experience in all aspects of the sprocket industry. He has filled multiple roles in Spacely Sprockets, from Research and Design of the MiniVac, to his current role as Vice President of Sales.

Do you think employers will pick Employee A over B because Employee A uses the first-person? Focus on making sure the content is good first, as that's what you will be judged on.

Comfort > Style

Each person is going to have their preference. Some people may detest the Oxford Comma, some may love it. Title Case in Job Titles may frustrate some employers, while others may prefer it to Proper case job titles. There is no way to know who is who, so going through agonizing feats of literary acrobatics to try to avoid all potentially divisive grammatical constructions is probably going to make your content less clear.

Write however is comfortable for you. If that means first person, then great, write in first person.

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I feel like third person gives off an arrogant attitude that I think I am so important that others would write about me.

I always feel more comfortable writing more informally. It sounds like you feel that way as well.

While some settings call for more "third person" narratives - like conference speakers' bios, authors' bios, etc - those are often written by a marketing person (a true "third person").

On your own sites, and on sites like LinkedIn, etc, you do the actual writing. So my feeling is that you should write in whatever style is most comfortable for you.

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The context matters greatly here.

On your personal website or CV it is usual to write in the first person.

If you're writing a snippet about yourself that will appear on the company website ("meet our team") write in the third person.

In my work I am in the unusual position of having a "Work CV". I work largely as a consultant, and sometimes the client will ask for a CV of the consultant being assigned. The work CV is written in the third person. It does feel a little clunky sometimes, but it is the standard style (in the UK at least).

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