Jayne Spencer has bucked the trend by listing her “10 things”, as part of our 600 Interesting and Useful Things for Recruiters series, in reverse order!
There has never been so many ways for potential employers and potential employees to search for the ideal job or the ideal candidate for a job. The days of posting out your CV with a nicely written cover letter are behind us thanks to the rise of job sites like monster.com and professional networking platforms like LinkedIn. People are finding new and inventive ways to land their dream job or find that star employee.
Sadly, it would appear that the same old overused words and phrases that cropped up on people’s CV’s, boring employers to tears, have not died out. With so many options and ways to advertise yourself online, mundane really isn’t good enough anymore. If you use these “buzzwords” on your LinkedIn profile, you might as well write “I’m an unimaginative clone parroting words I think you want to hear” in your personal statement.
10. “Responsible for…”
Reading this term, the recruiter will imagine the average, uninspired employee robotically fulfilling their job requirements in the same manner they filled out their LinkedIn profile. Having been responsible for something isn’t something you achieved — it’s something that happened to you. Nor does it indicate whether you were effective in your responsibility – you could’ve been terrible. Change passive phrases like this into active, decisive, strong verbs like “efficiently managed” or “led”.
9. “Hardworking”If you have ever heard the term “show — don’t tell”, this is where it applies. Anyone can call themself a hard worker. It’s much more convincing if you describe situations in previous jobs in which your hard work benefited an
This is both bland and vague. Yawn.
7. “Experience working in…”
Experience is a passive word – experience happens whether or not you work hard. Describe your background in terms of achievements.
6. “Team player”
Again, showing is better than telling. There are very few jobs that don’t involve working with at least one other person. If you have relevant success stories about collaborating in a team, write about them instead of simply stating the obvious. Talk about the kinds of teams you have worked with, and how you contributed to their successes.
5. “Problem-solving skills”
You know who else has problem-solving skills? Monkeys. Pigs. Chickens. Stick to skills that require a level of human intelligence.
So, you pay attention to details. Well, so does everyone else. Don’t you have something unique to set you apart from them?
You would hope so, wouldn’t you? Effective is a highly subjective word, and to a lot of people it means mediocre, average, good enough. Being effective at your job is a basic requirement, so if that is something you feel deserves attention when writing about yourself it may suggest to potential employers that you are somewhat lacking in other, better skills.
This word is a nice way to say you are difficult or pedantic. Basically a nightmare to work with.
Are you a “creative” and “motivated” job applicant? You’re also “predictable,” like all the other applicants out there who think all they need to do is splash “inspirational” buzzwords order to make appear “original.”
LinkedIn release an annual list of the most overused buzzwords on their profile pages, and guess what? “Creative” has achieved the dubious honour of first place for the last two years. By using the word creative, you are in fact proving your lack of creativity.
Removing these unoriginal buzzwords and phrases entirely can be difficult. Vague and nondescript though they may sound, for many they are simply code words to convey a larger message and gain acceptance into a particular job field, or openers to showcase other skills. Apart from sounding like you’ve swallowed a thesaurus, there are plenty of other ways to make your LinkedIn page stand out. Try adding a link to your blog, or get people to endorse you or write a reference for you.
Jayne Spencer is a careers advice consultant. She often speaks to recruiters who are having difficulty finding a candidate with the right skills. When people are looking to build up their skills she often recommends they visit http://www.souterstraining.com/