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When ‘specialists’ are not so special – LinkedIn reveals Australia’s most overused profile buzzwords


LinkedIn has revealed Australia’s most overused words on LinkedIn profiles to avoid this year. Aussies are using buzzwords such as specialised, passionate or strategic in an attempt to highlight their expertise not realising that they are in turn diluting their professional brand.

For the sixth year running, the ‘buzzwords’ were drawn from analysis of millions of profiles to compile the ten worst offenders from the past twelve months. The list is revealed to coincide with what is historically the busiest week of the year for LinkedIn profile updates.

Australia’s most overused word, and completely new to the top 10 this year, is “Specialised” replacing “Leadership” which topped the 2016 list. “Passionate” has moved up one place to become the third most overused buzzword worldwide.

The top ten Aussie buzzwords for 2017 are:

  1. Specialised
  2. Leadership
  3. Passionate
  4. Experienced
  5. Strategic
  6. Focused
  7. Expert
  8. Creative
  9. Successful
  10. Excellent

“While Aussies are choosing to describe themselves as “Specialised,” ironically, they are doing very little to communicate why they are ‘special’ said Shiva Kumar, LinkedIn Head of Communications Australia & New Zealand.

“LinkedIn data shows you only have five to ten seconds to impress a potential employer online, so it’s important to stand out from the rest of crowd. Using the right words and substantiating them with real examples of your work makes your profile more authentic,” he added.

How can you stand out on LinkedIn?

Christopher Sandford, Award winning author and bestselling biographer who is well accustomed to articulating others’ achievements shares his tips on how professionals can stand out:

  1. Make your words count: Your profile summary is one of the first things people look at, so it’s important to get it right. You want the reader to want to know more about you, so start with something punchy. Don’t be afraid to lead with a short sentence, such as ‘Music is my first love’.
  2. Be direct: It’s often tempting to speak in the third person when it comes to our working lives – don’t! It’s impersonal and won’t draw the reader in. Don’t shy away from adding some personality to your language – this is a great way to show your character.
  3. Showcase your experience: Your LinkedIn profile is 12 times more likely to be viewed if you have more than one previous position listed. Tell your ‘work story’ by listing all your relevant previous roles and describe what you achieved in those roles.
  4. Show, don’t just tell: Illustrate your unique professional story and your achievements by including evidence of your work. Paint the picture with visuals – whether that’s a video of you speaking at a conference, a research paper you authored, a news article that features you, or an image from a launch of a big campaign.