10 Words Never to Use on Your LinkedIn Profile

Are you a "responsible" and "driven" professional? Yeah, yeah, so is everyone. Photo: Getty Images Selling your skills on LinkedIn is a must these days if you’re career-minded, and surely, describing yourself as “responsible,” “effective” and “driven” in your profile is a great way to go about it, right? Um, wrong. Those descriptors land squarely on the networking site’s top 10 list of overused buzzwords for 2013, released Wednesday, and should actually be avoided at all costs.

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“These words are so overused that they've lost their meaning,” LinkedIn career expert Nicole Williams tells Yahoo Shine. "If everyone is 'creative,' what's creative anymore? Or even 'responsible'? It ends up being a nonword if everyone else is using it, too."

Instead, she suggests, make more of an impact by describing what you have accomplished in your career and backing it up with specific examples through the addition of photos, videos, and presentations. “Providing concrete examples to demonstrate how you are responsible or strategic is always better than just simply using the words," she notes.

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The fourth annual list of tired terms is a global representation of the site’s more than 259 million members and their profiles, and includes:

1.    Responsible
2.    Strategic
3.    Creative
4.    Effective
5.    Patient
6.    Expert
7.    Organizational
8.    Driven
9.    Innovative
10.  Analytical

Some changes to this year's list from 2012's include the dropping off of words "experimental" and "motivated," and the addition of almost every other term, with four exceptions: "creative," "responsible," "effective," and "analytical."

New York–based career coach Kathy Caprino tells Yahoo Shine in an email that she agrees with the new list of words to avoid — and that using the right ones are critical when marketing one’s skills, not only on LinkedIn and similar sites, but also on resumés.

“The worst pitfall I see is flat, boring language that shares only lists and bullets of job functions, not how the professional made a difference and stands out from the competition,” says Caprino, president of the women-focused Ellia Communications, and a career blogger for Forbes. Other adjectives she’d add to the list, she notes, are “seasoned” and “experienced,” which she calls “clichéd descriptors that are so overused and now mean nothing.”

So how do you negotiate around all these vocabulary pitfalls while still getting your message across? “It’s better to provide concrete, measurable examples of what your experience has delivered, improved, and impacted, with results that provide important scope and context,” Caprino advises. “For instance, did you bring in five clients worth $5 million? Or five clients worth $20,000? Where you’ve made a huge impact, share it, with quantifiable results, so we understand the impact.”

Better descriptors, she adds, are specific action words — followed by the details — that illustrate what you did and what result it had. For example: “negotiated,” “formulated,” “diversified,” “devised,” “restructured,” “secured,” “spearheaded and “pioneered.” She suggests even getting expert resumé-writing help, warning, “Don’t blow your chance to reach millions of people and share the best version of yourself and your contributions.”

Williams advises LinkedIn members to “consider the opposite” of a word before using it. If you’d never call yourself “irresponsible” or “impatient,” for example, then calling yourself “responsible” or “patient” is just a given. "For the most part," Williams says, "employers are expecting someone who's responsible."

Also, it’s a good idea to let others vouch for you as well by seeking endorsements and especially recommendations, and then touting them. "If a job is looking for someone who is 'strategic,' then have someone who worked with you in the past speak to that point in particular — even draft an example for them of what you're looking for," she suggests.

Finally, Caprino has final words of wisdom when it comes to creating your LinkedIn profile. “Don’t use your current job title as your tagline in LinkedIn,” she stresses. “You are not your job — you are much more. You are an amalgam of fantastic experience, accomplishments, learning, passion, talent, skills, and perspective that make you unique in the world. Describe yourself as what you stand for and what you contribute overall to the business world.”

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