Job seekers can find a lot of “do” and “don’t” posts about their job hunt. Some of it is good advice, and other, while well meaning, may actually lead job hunters down the wrong path. A good case in point, LinkedIn’s recent post advising job seekers to avoid including any of the top 10 “buzz words” words in their profiles.
These are the most popular “overused buzzwords” in LinkedIn profiles in the U.S.:
1. Extensive experience
6. Proven track record
7. Team player
9. Problem solver
LinkedIn also notes that popular words vary by region. (Not surprisingly!):
While members from the USA, Canada and Australia tend to emphasize their “extensive experience,” Brazilians, Indians and Spaniards identify themselves as “dynamic” professionals. Members in the UK call themselves more “motivated” and the French, the Germans, the Italians and the Dutch see themselves as “innovative.”
On the Career Trend blog, Rob Poindexter wrote about cliches, reacting to a news program, where all of the responses were trite:
Commentator: Ã‚Â What are your thoughts about the war in Afghanistan?
Panelist # 1: Ã‚Â All’s well that ends well.
Panelist # 2: Ã‚Â It’s not over ’til it’s over.
Panelist # 3: Ã‚Â One foot on a banana peel, the other in the grave.
Panelist # 4: Ã‚Â He who laughs last, laughs best.
Rob reminds readers not to let their resumes be a “cliche.” Absolutely good advice; you don’t want a resume that is nothing but buzzwords and devoid of quality content (like the commentators’ responses). But, is it time to do a search and destroy mission to eliminate all buzzwords from your resume and online profiles, as LinkedIn suggests?
Let’s think about it — why are these terms so popular? Because many of them describe exactly the type of person many employers want! So, take a step back and think about this before your revise your profile.
MSNBC’s career expert, Eve Tahmincioglu responded to LinkedIn’s post with a measured, and I believe appropriate answer. She asks, Are buzzwords really a bad thing?:
Admit it, you probably have one or two of these on your resume or LinkedIn profile. But is that really a bad thing? Who cares if they’re buzz words if they convey what you want?
I couldn’t agree more. Of course, if you read your profile and you list every single “cliche” without providing information that supports your claims, it’s probably time for a makeover. You need to show, not tell — focus your efforts on telling a story that is both about you and targeted to your next employer.
It’s not a good idea to “outlaw” words on resumes, even if they may be a little overused. Do I write resumes full of cliches? No, but I do target my clients’ resumes to their desired employers!
The most important thing to keep in mind is that your materials need to be as much about your employer as they are about you. Focus on their needs and make a clear case for why you have the skills and experience to accomplish their goals – and to solve their problems. Might that mean including a few buzzwords? I think so — there is a reason that buzzwords are buzzing! But, be sure your materials don’t sound like the seemingly unthinking, cliche-spewing commentators Rob mentioned in his Career Trend post.
LinkedIn suggests making your profile “more actionable,” which is a great idea, but I don’t think that simply “losing” all the buzzwords is the answer. “All things in moderation!” (I had to get at least one cliche in — but isn’t it true?)
What do you think? Do you have buzzwords in your materials? Will you be doing a search and destroy mission?
photo by autan