The most overused buzzwords on LinkedIn in 2013

You could be using the wrong words to get the job.
You could be using the wrong words to get the job.
Image: Reuters/Mark Blinch
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It’s time to stop labeling yourself as “responsible,” “creative,” and “driven.” Those are the most overused words on LinkedIn profiles worldwide, according to a new list published by the company.

LinkedIn checked the profile summaries of 259 million members for English and other languages, based on 81 buzzwords that were compiled last year. It ranked the most commonly-used words for members in 20 countries.

Many of the words are overused year after year, but one seems surprising and new: “patient.” In the US, it’s used more often than “creative,” “driven” or “innovative.”

“I never expected it…in this economy, with such a sense of drive and forward movement,” said Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s career expert and and author of several books.  (Yes, she uses expert in her profile despite its appearance on the list.) If you’re truly creative, show it and give some examples in your designs, the projects you’ve tackled, in links to your articles, she told me.

“Responsible” showed up as the most prevalent word in profiles from Canada to Singapore. “Dynamic” was a popular but shop-worn phrases in India, the United Arab Emirates, and Brazil, where LinkedIn users also milked “multinational” too often. In Australia and New Zealand, users chose “passionate” and in Great Britain, “positive” and “enthusiastic.”

Here are the 10 most overused words on LinkedIn profiles worldwide (additional years given for repeat offenders):

1. Responsible  (2012)

2. Strategic

3. Creative  (2012, 2011)

4. Effective (2012, 2011)

5. Patient

6. Expert

7.  Organizational  (2012, 2011)

8. Driven

9. Innovative  (2012, 2011, 2010)

10. Analytical  (2012)

These old overused words must have been removed from profiles because they don’t show up this year: “extensive experience” and “problem-solving” (from 2012 list); “track record” and “communication skills” (from 2011); or “motivated,” “fast-paced,” and “entrepreneurial” (2010).

Some experts say a few terms are necessary in your profile since recruiters and hiring managers use them to find job candidates.

If you’re eager to land a new gig, Williams suggested taking another tack on overused words. Find those most often used on employers’ websites describing themselves or their products.  “If you just essentially feedback what they’re essentially provided to you, they’re going to see the match. You’re definitely more likely to be hired that way.”