LinkedIn has published their list of most overused words and phrases in members’ LinkedIn Profiles for 2011. The number one most overused buzzword in LinkedIn profiles globally and for professionals based in the United States is “creative.” Here is LinkedIn’s 2011 list of the top 10 terms that are overused by professionals in the United States:
4. Extensive experience
5. Track record
8. Problem solving
9. Communication skills
Compare these to the 2010 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’s official take on buzzwords comes from Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s Connection Director and author of Girl on Top: “Even though this year’s list of overused terms differs from last year’s, your objectives remain the same: Banish buzzwords from your profile. Use language that illustrates your unique professional accomplishments and experiences. Give concrete examples of results you’ve achieved whenever possible and reference attributes that are specific to you.”
While it is true that you need to make sure to highlight what is special or different about you, and most experts would agree — you don’t want an overly jargon-y, empty-sounding, buzzword filled resume or LinkedIn profile. But (as I also asked last year): is it time to do a search and destroy mission to eliminate all buzzwords from your resume and online profiles, as LinkedIn suggests?
I still don’t believe the answer is to eliminate all buzzwords. This is what I shared last year:
Let’s think about it — why are these terms so popular? Because many of them describe exactly the type of person many employers want! Take a step back and think about this before your revise your profile.
MSNBC’s career expert, Eve Tahmincioglu responded to LinkedIn’s post last year with a measured, and I believe appropriate, answer. She asked, 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 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.
Can you change my mind? Do you think we should totally eliminate these buzzwords?
photo by autan