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Being Responsible is Overrated

December 10, 2013

LinkedIn’s Annual List of Profile Buzzwords Reveals ‘Responsible’ is 2013’s Most Overused Word in LinkedIn Member Profiles

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network with more than 259 million members, today released the most overused words and phrases in members’ LinkedIn Profiles for 2013. Globally, the No. 1 most overused buzzword in LinkedIn Profiles is “responsible.” Below is the entire 2013 list of the top 10 words that appear most often in the profiles of professionals globally:

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

This is the fourth year that LinkedIn has released its annual list of overused buzzwords. Looking back at the past few years, a variety of buzzwords have risen and fallen in terms of their popularity. In 2010, “extensive experience” was the top buzzword worldwide, and for two years running in both 2011 and 2012, the top buzzword was “creative.”

“Building your professional brand is an important step to being successful in the workforce,” said Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s career expert. “But if you sound like everyone else, you won’t stand out from other professionals vying for opportunities. Differentiate yourself by uniquely describing what you have accomplished in your career and back it up with concrete examples of your work by adding photos, videos and presentations to your profile that demonstrate your best work. Providing concrete examples to demonstrate how you are responsible or strategic is always better than just simply using the words.”

Show how you’re being responsible, creative or strategic and stand out from the crowd on LinkedIn using these tips:

Consider the opposite: Would you ever call yourself irresponsible or impatient? One of the quickest ways of deciding whether or not to select a word that may describe your professional brand is to consider the antonym. In the case of “effective,” its opposite is “ineffective,” making “effective” one of those descriptors that is a given. Your entire profile can show that you are responsible and effective without having to include the overused words.

Tie it to a result: Link your skills to a specific result that demonstrates your competence. Whenever possible, especially for buzzwords like “innovative,” “strategic” and “creative,” upload an example of your work to your profile such as a photo, video or presentation to give others a better representation of your talent.

Let others vouch for you: Another way of verifying the skill sets that the majority of others are also touting is to seek out endorsements or recommendations from reputable sources. When you are seeking recommendations, ask your connection to speak specifically to the skill set you are looking to emphasize and ideally tie it to an outcome they witnessed.

Use active language: Rather than saying you are responsible for something, demonstrate how that responsibility delivered results. Your peers, potential customers and future employers assume you were responsible for different programs, but how did that translate into results? For example, you could replace “responsible for social media,” with “accomplished goal of growing social media audience for the brand tenfold under my supervision” and provide visuals to further demonstrate it.

Right in front of your nose: Tailor your professional brand on LinkedIn and select the right words for specific opportunities by mirroring the language of aspirational companies. If you are aiming to work for or with a real estate company, for example, follow that company on LinkedIn and you will find a wealth of information that will guide you in your focus. By researching companies you aspire to work with, you can discover the right tone that you want to incorporate into your profile. If you're not sure what words to select to describe your professional experience or need to switch out one of your buzzwords, go to the source and use one of theirs.

Visit the LinkedIn Blog to learn more about LinkedIn’s 2013 buzzwords study.

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Founded in 2003, LinkedIn connects the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful. With more than 259 million members worldwide, including executives from every Fortune 500 company, LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network on the Internet. The company has a diversified business model with revenue coming from Talent Solutions, Marketing Solutions and Premium Subscriptions products. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, LinkedIn has offices across the globe.