Beware the buzzwords: how not to make your profile stand out

Beware the buzzwords: how not to make your profile stand out

If you’re a student or graduate researching how to write a CV, you’ll have probably have come across a list of ‘useful phrases’ that careers professionals recommend you use. These will be a selection of words that are intended to make you sound positive and dynamic. It’s possible, though, that they will make you sound like everyone else.

But that’s not something that only affects graduate-level jobseekers. As it’s December, LinkedIn have just released their annual list of ‘overused profile buzzwords’, with some warnings about updating your profile to get rid of them.

Apparently, the most commonly used words on LinkedIn this year, throughout the world, are ‘creative’ (oh, really?) and ‘motivated’.

LinkedIn have broken down the list by country: the French claim to be ‘responsible’, the Swiss favour ‘analytical’ and the Spanish go for ‘specialized’.

Sadly, they don’t give the top buzzword for Ireland this year.We do know, though, that in 2011, the number 1 buzzword for Ireland was ‘motivated’. And this year the rest of the world is catching up. In 2012, ‘motivated’ is number 1 for Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom, as well as being the number two buzzword globally.

That’s a bit of a strange one, though. Surely being motivated, when it comes to doing a good job or taking your job hunt seriously, should be a given? As a recruiter, I would certainly consider that to be a pretty basic starting point. Yet presumably all those people using it in their profile consider it to be something special.

And that proves the point about not using a word just because everyone else is. Whether it’s a CV, an application form or your LinkedIn profile, forget about buzzwords and think about the words that actually describe you as an individual – not words you’ve heard other people use or words you think people want to hear. That way, you’ll be more than just a number – and you might just stand out from the crowd.

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