Get the Job Dec 14 2010

Buzz Words to Avoid in Your LinkedIn Profile and on Your Resume

By julie steinberg

If you're like the majority of LinkedIn users, the words "motivated," "team player," and "innovative" probably appear in your profile. According to a report put out by the business social networking site, these are some of the most-used terms on the profiles of LinkedIn's 85 million users.

These terms are so overused and general they may have lost their impact, said DJ Patil, LinkedIn's chief data scientist and the lead on the report.

LinkedIn's analytics team drew up a list of 40 common professional buzzwords and then ranked them in order of frequency on member profiles.

"These are empty words," said Nicole Williams, a career coach and author of Earn What You're Worth. "They're not words that quantify any type of results. If you have extensive experience, who cares? Everyone has extensive experience."

Williams recommended scrubbing these terms from both your LinkedIn profile and your resume.:

1. Extensive experience

2. Innovative

3. Motivated

4. Results-oriented

5. Dynamic

6. Proven track record

7. Team player

8. Fast-paced

9. Problem solver

10. Entrepreneurial

So how do you describe yourself with adjectives that detail your positive qualities without using worn-out, ineffective terms?

Be more specific, said Williams.

Instead of writing "extensive experience," write that you have "twenty years' experience working with ultra high net worth clients." Or highlight your restructuring experience by listing the deals you've worked on and what you specifically did to engineer them.

Aside from the top-ten most used terms on LinkedIn, there are dozens of clichés to stay away from. Here is the list of 40 overused buzz words that the LinkedIn team used to conduct the study:

1. Best-in-Breed

2. Best-in-Class

3. Bottom-Line Oriented

4. Client Focused

5. Creative Thinker

6. Cutting Edge

7. Detail Oriented

8. Driven Professional

9. Dynamic

10. Entrepreneurial

11. Evangelist

12. Extensive Experience

13. Fast Paced

14. Go-To Person

15. Goal Oriented

16. Guru

17. Highly Skilled

18. Innovative

19. Motivated

20. Multi-Tasker

21. Out-of-the-Box

22. Perfectionist

23. Proactive

24. Problem Solver

25. Proven Track Record

26. Quality Driven

27. Quick Learner

28. Results-Oriented

29. Road Warrior

30. Seasoned Professional

31. Self-Starter

32. Skill Set

33. Strategic Thinker

34. Strong Work Ethic

35. Team Player

36. Tiger Team

37. Trustworthy

38. Value Add (Added)

39. Works Well Under Pressure

40. Works Well With Others

Write to Julie Steinberg

Related: How to Use LinkedIn to Get Hired




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