Five tips to avoid overused buzzwords on Linkedin
Being in the career coaching, recruiting and headhunting fields, I have seen literally thousands of Linkedin profiles. My responses have varied from laugh-out-loud moments, to cringe worthy moments, to pride; wanting to high five a client for sprucing up their profile.
Just like CV’s, Linkedin profiles can contain generic and overused words and phrases that don’t convey an individuals unique differentiators. I’ve certainly been a culprit of this myself. It’s often the case when we attempt to write something about ourselves, that we are drawn to words we hear thrown around like “strategic”, “extensive experience”, “dynamic”, “passionate” and “track record”. I’m not suggesting we refrain from using these words alltogether; however it’s worth considering whether we are overusing them to the point of not really adding value.
Standing out can be tough. Here are a few tips, which may help:
- Results are key- Remember, a potential employer is looking at your profile from a “what’s
in it for me” perspective. Ensure you mention achievements in your summary as well as your employment section. These should be specific to you, with quantifiable outcomes.
- Headline– If you don’t enter anything in your headline, or “tagline” as I call it, then Linkedin
will use your current work title. If this title doesn’t best reflect what you do, then create a powerful one that does. Eg. “Manager, Mentor, Thinker and Strategist at Company X.
- “Power words”- Use action words in front of achievement statements that exhibit your
role in that achievement. Eg. “Conceptualised”, “created”, “initiated”, “implemented”, “managed”, “lead”, “improved” and “solved”.
- Recommendations- Having a number of written recommendations from colleagues,
managers and other stakeholders will give your profile more credibility. This is just as important as having good references when applying for a job.
- Interests- Often overlooked, this section can provide readers with more insight into who
you are as a person. Once again, try to stay clear of the more generic areas like ‘cooking, exercising, socialising, spending time with family etc’. I’m sure these would apply to most people. Instead, talk about your unique interests like ‘Competitive basketball’, Voluntary work (specifying who for), professional development (again be specific), along with any causes you are actively passionate about.
Colleagues and stakeholders will check out your profile, just as future hiring managers will. So, if you’re going to be on Linkedin, you may as well ensure you have a strong profile. Even if you’re not actively seeking opportunities, it helps to have a good brand.
Words are important. Choose wisely.