“I am a motivated, passionate and creative expert, driven, responsible, with an extensive experience in various organizational roles, track record of success, and a strategic mind set.” How does this description sound to you? Do you want to hire this person?
… This was a trick question. I wrote this sentence using top 10 most overused buzzwords identified by LinkedIn. This was too tempting of a feat as LinkedIn delivered its annual gift, a list of the words that showed up most frequently in its users’ profiles in the past year. It’s always fascinating to see how the list evolves from one year to another. 2014 newcomers “motivated” and “passionate” took the first and the second places correspondingly. “Creative” stayed in its honorable third place. “Extensive experience” and “track record” were added to the list.
It’s definitely a good idea to check your profile for the top 10 offenders – and we will look at each one of them in a moment. But there is a more important aspect here that is often overlooked. Talk is cheap. Rather than talking about your awesomeness, demonstrate it by doing the following:
- Use your LinkedIn portfolio to upload examples of your work
- Describe the results of your work
- Have powerful recommendations
This will give your profile visitors a 3-dimensional view of your qualities, not some flat, boring and unsubstantiated statement of self-promotion. This being said, let’s take a look at LinkedIn black list and strive to understand why these words made the list.
- Motivated. Being motivated is considered a given, an expectation, as no employer aspires to hire unmotivated people. So don’t state the obvious.
- Passionate. This is another characteristic that is expected, although some people are definitely more passionate and enthusiastic about their work than others.
- Creative. “Creative” being on the black list is a result of a certain “word inflation” in the digital universe. As more people learn about the importance of branding, some are stuffing their profiles with all possibly desirable qualities there are. Doing so is a mistake. Choose the words that truly represent you. Not everyone is creative to the same degree, and not every positive quality is a desirable one for a given job or profession. I’d much rather use the services of a detail oriented accountant than a creative one.
- Driven. This is another case of “don’t bother stating the obvious”.
- Extensive experience. If your experience is extensive indeed, be specific. What sounds more impressive, “9 years experience” or “extensive experience”?
- Responsible. If you are saying you are a responsible individual, it’s yet another example of “don’t state the obvious”. But if you are saying you have been responsible for a, b and c in your last job, you are wasting precious profile real estate. Who cares what you were responsible for? Tell me what you have done with this responsibility, how you left your employment place better after you departed than it was before you arrived.
- Strategic. This poor word has been used and abused to death, to the point that it became completely devoid of meaning for many people. It does convey an important concept, and if you feel that it’s important to use it, make sure to explain what it means to you in a particular context and provide good examples.
- Track record. Doesn’t sound too fresh or exciting, does it? Consider using a synonym like” history” or simply “record”.
- Organizational. Unless you are describing your achievements in the area of organizational development, you can probably easily eliminate this word. In our example in the beginning of this article, we didn’t add much meaning by tacking on “organizational” onto “roles”.
- Expert. Modesty anyone? As the old saying goes, being a leader is like being a lady: if you have to say that you one or the other, you are neither.
Making sure that you don’t use too many of the buzzwords above is a good idea. But even without knowing the top 10, do you best to not sound like a robot. Make sure that the words you choose to represent yourself are authentic. Shy away from formulaic language that makes you sound like everyone else.
Hello, my name is Maria Fafard and I am delighted to meet you! I speak and write about thought leadership, blogging, personal branding, career strategy and LinkedIn strategy. If you have enjoyed my articles, please follow me here on WordPress, on LinkedIn and Twitter (@mariafafard), and check out my other blog MariaFafardWrites.Wordpress.com. For speaking inquiries, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you. ~Maria