Lose the Generic Adjectives

Many of the suggestions and rules discussed for your cover letter in Workshop Wednesday, and elsewhere on this site, also apply to your LinkedIn profile. Far more employers than ever before are sneaking a peek at this online combination of both cover letter and resume, so be sure you’re paying it as much attention as your other written materials.

LinkedIn recently reviewed the profiles of its over 187 million members and identified the most overused buzz words for 2012:

  • Creative
  • Organizational
  • Effective
  • Motivated
  • Extensive Experience
  • Track Record
  • Innovative
  • Responsible
  • Analytical
  • Problem Solving

A woman after my own heart, LinkedIn’s Connection Director, Nicole Williams, advises you to show and not tell. If only I had a dollar for every time I’d said that! If you haven’t yet listened to me, maybe you’ll listen to her:

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. Yes, you were creative and effective in every job and volunteer position you’ve been in, but if you want to get the credit you deserve you need to get specific when giving a rundown of your work experience.

You can read the rest of Ms. Williams’ advice here.

I double-checked my profile (and prayed I hadn’t used any of these words)… and they were nowhere to be found. I won’t hold my profile out as a perfect specimen, but I definitely tried to show and not tell. Check it out if you want some examples.


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