Stop Being So “Creative”: LinkedIn Releases 2012 List of Overused Buzzwords

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December 4, 2012 ‐ By

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No doubt, if you’re building a career, you’ve got a profile on LinkedIn that you include on your resume and in your email signature. What is your profile saying about you? Apparently, in the US, a lot of us are saying we’re “creative.”

The professional social network has just released this year’s list of overused buzzwords from around the world; words that pop up in far too many profiles found on the site. And the number one buzzword in the US and around the world is “creative.” Again.

“If you want opportunity to come knocking, you’ve got to make your LinkedIn Profile stand out from the pack,” Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s career expert said in a press statement about the latest buzzwords. “Millions of professionals say they’re ‘creative,’ so set yourself apart by describing and linking to projects you’ve worked on that truly were different, unique, and compelling.”

This is the third year that LinkedIn has published this ranking and the second year that “creative” has topped the list. In the first year, the phrase “extensive experience” was number one in the US. Other words appearing on the overused list for the US this year are “organizational,” “effective,” and “motivated.” “Extensive experience” is number five. Many of these words are also commonly used in profiles from around the world.

The site suggests three things to help improve your profile: take a look around the network to determine what you like and don’t like about other profiles; make sure you fill in the skills portion so people can endorse you; and re-think your professional headline to make sure it grabs eyeballs.

Still, we wondered why so many people keep coming back to that word “creative.”

“Being creative doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be artistically inclined or an inventor of new gadgets,” Williams told us in an email. “It is the ability to see things differently and come up with new solutions. My personal thought on the matter is that when creative is looked at from that lens, it is a trait that is valued in almost any field, hence the reason so many people use the word to describe themselves as a professional.” But people tend to use the word rather than explaining what exactly makes them creative. In journalism, we say you should show, not tell. The same idea applies here.

“It may take a bit more work, but describing specific projects that you’ve worked on where you moved the needle will help you stand out from the millions of ‘creative’ professionals on LinkedIn,” Williams added. For more on the overused words list, check out the LinkedIn blog.

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