So begin many LinkedIn profiles — or variations thereof — using most of the 10 most over-used buzzwords of 2016. These include:
LinkedIn has conducted this analysis for the last six years. It is interesting to see how buzzwords have evolved over time. Top of the list, and new to the top 10 this year is the term “Specialised,” knocking “Leadership” out of the top slot from 2016 and to second. “Passionate” moves up one place to become the third most over-used buzzword worldwide. “Strategic” and “Experienced” complete the top five, the latter a new entry to the top 10.
LinkedIn says people are better than buzzwords so one should make a difference by not using them. It partnered with best-selling biographer Christopher Sandford to look at why people are still using language that makes them blend into the background rather than get noticed. Here’s what he discovered:
- Ease: Using new language and being creative with the words on our profile can be a daunting prospect and it requires effort. Opting for common buzzwords requires less thought and is often a more convenient approach.
- Everyone else does: We’ve seen our peers use buzzwords and assume it’s the right thing to do – we think they sound professional without giving much thought to what the word really means.
- Association: Some of us use buzzwords as a way to illustrate and convey belonging to a certain group, or industry. It helps us to feel part of something and like we fit in.
- Appearances: Buzzwords are often used to seem knowledgeable when we’re not confident talking about our professional achievements. Writing about ourselves is a challenge and using buzzwords is a way to avoid specifics.
- While it may be convenient or seem smart to use buzzwords when talking about ourselves, your professional achievements are better than generic buzzwords.
LinkedIn has advice on avoiding buzzwords here.