When “Buzzword” is a four letter word

As 2012 drew to a close, some of the top sites for businesses took a look at the most commonly used professional “buzzwords” of the year. Specifically, LinkedIn was able to take their database and check for the words that professionals used to describe themselves.

If you’re not familiar with LinkedIn, the short explanation is that it is Facebook for business professionals. Here’s the long version: LinkedIn a social media network targeting people in business specifically. This is not where you friend your mom or get tagged in embarrassing photos. LinkedIn is for connecting with your boss, coworkers, employees, etc. without the “friend” aspect. It’s a place to get recommendations, go job-hunting, and connect with people in your industry. If you aren’t already on their, you should take a look.

buzzword bee

Here are the top ten buzzwords that people use to describe themselves to potential employers:

1. Creative

2. Organizational

3. Effective

4. Motivated

5. Extensive Experience

6. Track Record

7. Innovative

8. Responsible

9. Analytical

10. Problem solving

You can see the whole article here. They also divide it by country.

This is not a “how-to” post. I don’t want you to take that list of buzzwords and run over to add them to your LinkedIn account nor is it a template on how to approach a potential employer.

In some ways, buzzwords serve a purpose, but more and more often they are turning into empty filler terms, almost like a formality that is ignored before you can get to the meet of a potential employee. But, much like rules for writing, these terms have lost most of their meaning and original intention. As of June 2012, LinkedIn had over 175 million users.

So, if you’re planning on applying for jobs utilizing LinkedIn or you are writing a cover letter, how are you going to distinguish yourself from every Tom, Dick, and Harry who is creative, organizational, and analytical?

Don’t just say it, show it.

Draw on your job history to give specific examples of your problem solving skills. Maybe you had to do some on-the-fly graphic design. Maybe your presentation partner showed up without his homework. Maybe your flight was cancelled, so you rented a car and drove all night to make it to your booth at an expo.

These stories show creativity, motivation, and problem solving skills. And, they all have a place in your profile on LinkedIn. You can’t bank on the chance that you’ll be able to cover it in an interview. Get it out there.

As always, use discretion when posting your anecdotes. Your employer might not want to know what kind of teepee art you did with your friends in high school.

What buzzwords do you wish would just go away? Share them below!


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Posted on January 7, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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