Be More than a Buzzword

  • Posted by: Chaloner

LinkedIn has released their list of top ten buzzwords from 2014. This includes the most commonly used words in the summary section of profiles. Here is their list:

  1. Motivated
  2. Passionate
  3. Creative
  4. Driven
  5. Extensive experience
  6. Responsible
  7. Strategic
  8. Track record
  9. Organizational
  10. Expert

While some of these things may be true, they lose their meaning the more they are thrown around online, on resumes, and in interviews. When you are tempted to use one of these terms, how can you find a more accurate, and more active, way to communicate the quality you want to highlight?

Consider the antonym.

Unmotivated, run-of-the-mill, disorganized…you wouldn’t admit to being any of these things. LinkedIn suggests you consider the reverse statement of the words you use to describe yourself. If you would never promote yourself as being irresponsible, than being responsible probably isn’t a selling point- it’s simply expected.

Substitute skills for adjectives.

When it comes to skills you actually do want to include some key terms that will make you searchable. If you are experienced in user interface design or statistical analysis (two of the 25 most in-demand skills this past year), include that in your skills section. In fact, you are 13 times more likely to be viewed on LinkedIn if you list your skills on your profile. See here for some more tips on how to hone your skills section.

Back it up.

You are going to have to substantiate your claims eventually. If your online profile includes some evidence that you are who you claim to be, recruiters and hiring managers will be more likely to invite you in. Instead of telling us you’re “passionate”, include related volunteer experience and mission-driven work. Ask for recommendations from others that speak to how your love for the cause informs your work and spreads to your team. Include links to your twitter, blog, and other articles on the subject. Join relevant groups on LinkedIn and engage in the conversation. Your passion will be apparent, as well as your drive, intellect, professionalism, and expertise.

It’s not that you’re not “motivated” and “creative” with “extensive experience.” It’s that so many people are. The language you use to describe yourself should be as substantive and complex as you are.