What Not To Do When Creating Your LinkedIn Profile



Today I wanted to share a great article from Forbes about the exact buzz words to remove from your LinkedIn profile! An appropriate time to share this with 2014 now apon us and LinkedIn claiming its place as a key marketing channel for recruiters. The truth is I am sure many of us would label ourselves as; strategic,effective etc. However it doesn’t really say much about what we can actually do or importantly deliver for clients….does it ?


Ten Buzzwords To Cut From Your LinkedIn Profile


LinkedIn LNKD +0.14% has come out with its fourth annual list of the ten words that are most overused by its 259 million members worldwide. Again, the professional networking site cautions against profiles where people describe themselves as responsible, strategic, creative and effective, driven to come up with innovative solutions. In other words, don’t use trite, empty words that sound good but say almost nothing.

Here’s the top ten list:

1. Responsible
2. Strategic
3. Creative
4. Effective
5. Patient
6. Expert
7. Organizational
8. Driven
9. Innovative
10. Analytical


Think about it for a minute and you realize that most of these words are generic descriptors that any employer would take for granted. Merriam-Webster defines “creative” as “marked by the ability or power to create.” In other words, it means you can do stuff.


Instead of falling back on empty terminology, describe your skills and achievements in concrete terms. Don’t  say you’re “effective.”  Say you cut the annual sales cycle by half.


To compile the list, LinkedIn sifted through the “Summary” sections in profiles worldwide, to rank how often each buzzword appears. There have been four shifts from last year. In 2013, “motivated,” “extensive expertise,” “track record,” and “problem solving,” have fallen off the list. Replacing them: “strategic,” “patient,” “expert,” and “driven.” Perhaps the Zeitgeist has changed, and people don’t think they need two-word phrases to describe their experiences. Instead they want pithier-sounding words that emphasize intensity, like “driven.” Or maybe the slow recovery prompts people to say they are “patient.”


One good piece of advice LinkedIn offers: when you’re choosing words to describe yourself, consider the antonym. Would you ever describe yourself as ineffective or impatient? If not, leave the positive forms of those words off your profile.


But I take issue with the No. 1 buzzword: “responsible.”  While it can be used in an empty way, it can also be a concrete description of, well, your responsibilities. One of the best LinkedIn profiles I’ve seen was written by my friend Matthew Rechs, who works as a director at Adobe Typekit, a fast-growing division of the huge software company that offers a broad selection of website fonts.


To describe his job, he says, “I’m responsible for all of our Enterprise sales revenue.” I think the word “responsible” is perfect there. He could have said “in charge of,” but that’s three words where one will do. He goes on to describe his accomplishments concretely: “In the last six months, we have exceeded every monthly sales target by an average of 40%. In the best month, we achieved 240% of the target.” Those are impressive points, and they flesh out his responsibilities.


One other piece of advice I’d give LinkedIn users after looking closely at Matthew’s profile: Consider moving the “Summary” section to the bottom of your profile, under “Recommendations.” It’s more impressive and immediate to read the description of what Matthew is doing right now, including the specific descriptions of his achievements.


I think LinkedIn does a service by releasing its buzzwords list, reminding us all that we should use active, concise words to describe specific achievements. But sometimes a word like “responsible,” which may seem overused, is exactly the right way to describe what you do.


By the way did you know that we create LinkedIn profiles for clients? Would you like to know more.? Then just fill out the contact form and lets have a conversation.




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