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8 overused buzzwords to avoid on your LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn has released this year's list of buzzwords used most often by members in their profiles. If any of them turn up on your profile, it may be time for a LinkedIn makeover.

Here are the most overused buzzwords in LinkedIn profiles. If you are using any of them, time for a makeover, perhaps? Credit: LinkedIn

Who knew the world was so creative? That buzzword, "creative," is once again the world's most overused self-description on LinkedIn, as measured by descriptions in member profiles. Unless LinkedIn users are disproportionately creative, that wouldn't be the word most of us would use to describe most professionals we know (of course, all my colleagues are exceptionally creative and wonderful).

LinkedIn has released its analysis of the most commonly used adjectives (English and translated equivalents) in the "summary" section of profiles of its 187 million members (last year, the membership number was 135 million).

"Even though we added more than 50 million new members since we did the last ranking, the data tells us that the number one buzzword globally is 'creative' once again," wrote LinkedIn senior data scientist Simla Ceyhan (@simla; her LI profile is here).

As you can see from the infographic above and the chart below, some words take hold around the world:

  • Analytical: Switzerland
  • Creative: Australia, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, U.S.
  • Effective: India
  • Experimental: Brazil
  • Motivated: Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom
  • Multinational: Egypt, Indonesia
  • Responsible: France, Italy
  • Specialized: Spain

Below are two charts showing the most overused buzzwords in the US, first in 2012 and then in 2011. You'll notice a couple of differences.

So what can you do if you find that your profile has one or more of the buzzwords?

Nicole Williams (@thegirlontop; LinkedIn profile), LinkedIn's Connection Director/Career Expert, suggests three things you can do to fix your buzzword problem. Here are excerpts from her recent post:

Consider the Opposite: You wouldn't mention how disorganized or irresponsible you are, and their antonyms (organized, trustworthy, etc) are wasted words too. Why you ask? Because these are the traits that an employer, client or co-worker expects you to have.

Show, Don't Tell: Rather than telling everyone who is willing to listen just how creative and effective you are, demonstrate it by using hard data. Integrate numbers to quantify your effectiveness and/or links in your profile to illustrate your creative talents. This is especially important on LinkedIn where you are 12 times more likely to have your profile viewed if you include more than one position.

Consult the Experts: Looking for synonyms to replace the "analytical," "motivated," and "innovative" words that litter your profile? Check out the largest professional thesaurus on the planet. Get yourself in touch with the movers and shakers in your industry via LinkedIn Groups and LinkedIn Today and see what new words are on the rise. You also should follow companies that you're interested in working with (or competing against). What terms are they using to describe the types of candidates they're looking for? What skills do their top executives have listed in their profiles?

Read her full post here

Whatever the count of buzzwords on your LinkedIn profile, you should, about once a month, read through your profile and make sure it showcases the best current you.

2012: Here are the most overused buzzwords in US LinkedIn profiles. Screenshot: LinkedIn
2011: Here are the most overused buzzwords in US LinkedIn profiles. Screenshot: LinkedIn