Thursday 21 January 2016 4:30 am

Banish the buzzwords to boost your career in 2016

Tom Welsh is City A.M.'s business features editor.

Tom Welsh is City A.M.'s business features editor.

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Three days after “Blue Monday” – reputedly the most depressing day of the year – today is the day when most people will update their LinkedIn profiles and put their New Year career resolutions into action.

But in a busy jobs market and with over 20m UK professionals now on LinkedIn, it’s more important than ever to make sure you stand out from the crowd.

With that in mind, we’ve released the top ten most overused buzzwords which are guaranteed to turn employers off. So if you’re wondering whether you’re guilty of lapsing into “jobseeker jargon”, here are the most overused words and phrases on LinkedIn last year:

1. Motivated

2. Creative

3. Enthusiastic

4. Track record

5. Passionate

6. Successful

7. Driven

8. Leadership

9. Strategic

10. Extensive experience

And here are my top tips for losing the buzzword lingo and standing out from the crowd on LinkedIn this year.


The summary section of your professional profile is the first thing that potential employers and recruiters will see after your picture. Too many generic words and phrases make it difficult for recruiters to work out what you’re really about, so make sure it’s a strong and concise summary that will grab their attention.

Don’t be afraid to cut to the chase. If you’re actively seeking a job (and happy for your current employer to know this) then state it in your headline.


So you have “extensive experience” you want to shout about? Tell your network by publishing a post on LinkedIn – by offering your opinion on industry matters you’re positioning yourself as a thought leader and sharing your valuable knowledge.

Actually listing all your experience and skills will make your profile more than 13 times more likely to be viewed, and including niche skills will allow you to show up in targeted searches.


You wouldn’t describe yourself as “strategic” or “driven” in real life situations, so why do it on your LinkedIn profile or CV?

Instead, bring your skills to life by uploading examples of presentations, achievements, images and other work to your profile that clearly demonstrate what you’re capable of. Remember, a picture paints a thousand words and will help your profile stand out.

Your good side

Potential employers don’t just notice your day job. Many employers find non-profit experience equally valuable so make sure you demonstrate everything you do outside work.

Instead of saying you’re “passionate”, show that you are by listing any voluntary experience and the issues you care about in the “voluntary experiences and causes” section of your profile.


Nothing beats praise from colleagues and employers to demonstrate that your claim to be “successful” is more than hot air. Let others vouch for you by asking them for a recommendation on LinkedIn, or give former colleagues a recommendation to encourage one back.

One or two recommendations from other professionals are worth a hundred buzzwords.