Why leading with your credentials is a mistake + what to do instead

TRUSTED BY health + wellness copywriting with heart why leading with your credentials is a mistake desk with chair and wall calendar

Remember early on in your training, when you thought you’d never make it through to the other side?

When it felt like ages til it’d be your turn to be out in the world, offering your services to the clients of your dreams?

Well, guess what, friend:

You’ve made it. You’ve arrived.

And chances are, despite all those years of dreaming in vivid detail about the kind of work you’d do, and the sort of people you’d help

A funny thing probably happened. 

Like most of us in the health + wellness world, you probably sat down to write your website About page or professional directory bio and it went something like this:

You typed your graduation date. And the school and program you graduated from.

You listed your area(s) of expertise. The topics and issues you’re trained to work with. (Maybe you even added in a specialized certification or two. The really expensive ones.)

And then, in the blank narrative section, you probably lead with something like:

“As a licensed professional in the area of _________, with __ years’ experience treating _______, I…”

…and you’re all good! Off to the races, right??


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Now, if the title of this post sounds a little harsh, let me just say…

Like you, I know how satisfying it feels to hold that diploma in your hands and breathe a huge sigh of relief that you have made it.

Professional training demands a tremendous amount of work. That’s nothing to sweep under the rug.

And, to be fair, where you went to school probably does matter in some corners of the health + wellness fields…

Maybe it helped you land a shmancy fellowship.

Or snag that first steady job.

Or even negotiate a higher starting salary.

It’s clear there are people in your professional life who value your credentials.

The problem? Your clients are not those people.  

In fact…

When it comes to reaching the people you most want to reach (i.e., your dream clients), leading with your credentials is actually a waste.

I’m going to unpack that message in a minute here, but first I want to pause and make one key qualification:

By no means am I saying you should bury your credentials. Or dismiss them, or doubt them in any way.

“Imposter syndrome” is a reality for so many of us (young, female professionals, especially) that the topic probably warrants it’s own dedicated post. (Stay tuned!)

So, yes, own your credentials, celebrate them, and display them for all to see.

Just don’t go building your whole communication strategy around them.

It’s a natural impulse to do so, but it’s a mistake for at least 3 reasons:

Reason #1: It’s a waste of words

Your alma mater (or fellowship or elite certification program…) may be highly impressive.

But, it’s likely meaningless to your dream client.

It may even be off-putting and have a distancing effect.

That’s the last thing you want!

And while it may feel like talk is cheap, when it comes to marketing yourself and your business, the goal is to make every word work for you.

Did you know most clients will spend no more than 8 seconds on your website or professional directory listing before they decide if they want to stick around?

Think of your dream client and what may have led them to land on your site.

What are they struggling with?
What are they looking for?

Now think of your site and what your dream client will see in those few, fleeting seconds…

Still think it’s important to lead with where you studied?

Reason #2: It’s a waste of time

The second reason why leading with your credentials is a mistake?

It eats away at precious time you could be putting toward helping your dream client.

There’s a lot of talk in the business world about opportunity cost: The loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.

In short:

Each moment you’re not helping your dream client, you’re potentially hurting them.

And that’s true of any business.

But, when we think about it in terms of the work we do in the health + wellness fields, the sense of urgency becomes palpable.

It’s not enough, in other words, to have valuable services to offer. We ought to make that value as clear and accessible to our clients as possible.

Reason #3: It’s a waste of opportunity

It’s a noisy world out there.

There are so many potential resources vying for your dream client‘s attention.

What reason are you giving them to stay on your page? To click “learn more” about your services?

See, when you prioritize your own professional credentials on your website or bio, that’s a wasted opportunity to connect with your dream clients in a meaningful way.

Your credentials may dazzle at first, but they’re really the bare minimum. The basic price of admission to your dream client’s attention.

Clients expect more from us.

At some point, they’re going to expect us to bring something far more meaningful and valuable to the table than a line on our resumes.

Leading with your credentials is like bragging to your dream client that your office has a floor. Or a bathroom. Or a place to sit.

“Uhh… yeah, Doc. I should hope it does. Can we get to the important stuff now…?”


So, what should you be communicating instead?

To recap:

Simply listing your professional credentials and expecting them to do the heavy lifting for you is a waste of your words, your time, and your opportunity.

Ready for some good news?

You already have everything you need to help your dream client feel seen, understood, and cared for.

The 3 most important things to communicate are:

  1. WHO you’re talking to. Is it clear who your dream client is? You should have a picture in mind of who you’re trying to reach, and this should come through in the words on your site.
  2. WHAT they’re struggling with. What keeps your dream client up at night? Do you know what led them to search for help? This should be stated clearly on your site, before you ever talk about your own background or training.
  3. HOW you can help. How will life feel different for your dream client when they work with you? Focus on the specific benefits they’ll experience. Be as descriptive as you can.

Let’s take action!

When it comes to attracting the people you love working with most, you already have a powerful asset at your disposal! Ready to learn what it is, and start putting it to work for you + your business TODAY?




I help health + wellness professionals connect with their dream clients through genuine, engaging communication. After spending over a decade studying, researching, and teaching psychology + communication principles, I started this business to empower health + wellness professionals like me to “preach what you practice”. I share practical guidance so you can get clear on your unique value, communicate it with heart, attract + serve the people you love working with most… and actually have fun along the way.

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