We all know that unemployment has been hovering around the double-digit mark for the better part of two years. And, when this happens, even the people who are gainfully employed are desperate to find greener pastures. All of this translates to action on LinkedIn, with users beefing up their profiles, soliciting recommendations and pitching their skills and experience like crazy to get out of where they are and (hopefully) land somewhere better.
And apparently, everyone’s thinking the same way.
LinkedIn just published the 10 most overused profile buzzwords on its blog, and the results suggest that either everyone has the same resume writer or there’s a distinct lack of creativity in the American workforce.
Let’s see how your profile scores on the clichÃ© scale:
- Extensive experience
- Proven track record
- Team player
- Problem solver
So, how did you score? While you’ll doubtless have a bit of the norm in your resume, you may want to mix things up a bit if you look too much like everyone else.
Obviously, nobody wants to be seen as an inexperienced, unmotivated employee who is static, hates other people, uninterested in results and slow … not to mention the cause of the many problems that arise.
Lest I be accused of picking on the United States, the rest of the world isn’t all that different. Canadians and Australians join us in loving “extensive experience,” while the United Kingdom is motivated, and employees in Brazil, India and Spain are dynamic. France and Germany favor “innovative” employees, along with Italy and the Netherlands.
Now, let’s think about what all this means. If you want to score a great new gig, even while times are tough, you’ll definitely need to differentiate yourself. You simply have no choice in the matter. Invest some time in thinking about what you’ve really done at each of your jobs, and get specific. Eschew buzzwords in favor of metrics. Show that you have each of these traits. For example:
1. Extensive experience: indicate how many years you have worked in your profession, and go a layer deeper – talk about how long you have been involved with the particular aspect relevant to the position you are pursuing.
2. Innovative: discuss new product lines, service offerings or solutions you have developed. If you revamped your department’s operations, built a better mousetrap or did anything else that makes “innovation” tangible, lay it out for your prospective employer.
3. Motivated: this should be evident from your resume. Make it clear from your accomplishments.
4. Results-oriented: use metrics in your resume, such as how much you increased sales, lowered costs or bolstered customer satisfaction. Remember the commercials: “Four out of five dentists recommend …”
5. Dynamic: like “motivation,” it should be evident from everything else.
6. Proven track record: again, turn to the metrics. Show your track record; don’t just say that you have one.
7. Team player: highlight how you have worked with teams, either as a leader or a contributor. Explain how you helped groups reach a meaningful and valuable consensus, or how you generated the ideas that set the team in the right direction.
8. Fast-paced: see (3) and (5) above.
9. Problem solver: this is why someone should hire you, right? Present the problems that you have solved, show how you got there and (always) quantify the results.
10. Entrepreneurial: whether you’ve started your own business or used “intrapreneurship,” do get an idea off the ground at a company you worked for, spend more time focusing on what you actually did than throwing overused labels on them. Get specific. Talk about impact.
Simply by tooting your own horn, you can climb out of the LinkedIn clichÃ© rut. Do this, and you really will show that you’re dynamic, motivated and results-oriented!