Are you a creative, motivated entrepreneur with a proven track record and extensive experience? Do you consider yourself innovative, dynamic, and adept at problem solving?
If so, the friendly folk at LinkedIn would like you to know: You’re not the only one.
In fact, a majority of Australian professionals are guilty of overindulging in these same words to describe themselves.
“Creative” topped LinkedIn’s list of the most overused buzzwords of 2011, as revealed through a study of members’ profiles on the global networking site.
“Extensive experience,” last year’s number-one phrase, was the runner-up this year, with “effective”, “track record” and “motivated” claiming spots three through five.
While the end-of-year list may feel like an exercise in cheekiness, the point is not to shame users or deny anyone’s creativity. It’s to expose the limits of buzzwords in revealing personal achievement, says career coach Sally-Anne Blanshard.
“Overused words and phrases like ‘Creative’, ‘Extensive Experience’ and ‘Effective’ don’t necessarily reflect your unique professional accomplishments and experiences and do nothing to help you stand out amongst your fellow professionals,” says Blanshard, director of Nourish Coaching.
Some two million Australians have LinkedIn profiles, but they are hardly isolated in their word choice. “Creative” was also the number one buzzword among LinkedIn users in Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.
The survey also revealed some interesting cultural and business differences around the world. In Brazil, for example, the most overused term was “multinational” — a reflection of that country’s rise as a global economic player.
Among LinkedIn profiles in Singapore, “track record” was number one; in India, it was “effective” (numbers four and three in Australia, respectively). Italians were most likely to mention “problem solving” in their profiles (ninth most common among Aussies), while most French preferred “dynamic” (tenth in Australia).
As 2012 kicks off, the networking site advises its users to enhance their profiles by adding specific skills, professional recommendations and a fleshed-out CV…and a better selection of words to stand out from the pack.
“Take the time to makeover your profile with words and language that give concrete examples of your professional achievements, attributes and capabilities that are specific to you,” says Blanshard.
In other words, try being more creative.
The Ten Most Overused Buzzwords Among Australians in 2011, according to LinkedIn
- Extensive experience
- Track record
- Communication skills
- Wide range
- Problem solving
Image by dalbera