If there's one word most people describe themselves with professionally, it's creative. At least, that's the consensus from professional network LinkedIn, who found that the description topped the list of the most overused words and phrases in its member profiles for 2012.
Here's a quick look at what the 2012 No. 1 buzzwords for countries in which LinkedIn fielded this study:
New Zealand: Creative
Saudi Arabia: Motivated
South Africa: Motivated
United Arab Emirates: Motivated
United Kingdom: Motivated
United States: Creative
So in Australia, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden and United States, professionals used the word creative in their profiles to give themselves an edge in the careers... except that many others also describe themselves similarly. Other overused buzzwords and phrases by U.S based professionals? You may find them familiar: Organizational, Effective, Motivated, Extensive Experience, Track Record, Innovative, Responsible, Analytical, Problem Solving. For Singapore, the top 10 tired descriptions are (in that order): Motivated, Track Record, Analytical, Effective, Responsible, Interpersonal, Dynamic, Problem Solving, and Innovative.
But the problem is, if everybody is creative, then nobody is. "Every day potential business partners, clients and employers are searching for professionals on the Web," says Nicole Williams
, LinkedIn’s career expert. "If you want opportunity to come knocking, you’ve got to make your LinkedIn Profile stand out from the pack. 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. Pointing to concrete examples of the creative work you’ve done is more convincing than simply stating you are a ‘creative’ professional."
If the buzzword bug bit your LinkedIn profile or resume, here are a few ways LinkedIn suggests you can do to make your profile sparkle in 2013:
Check out the competition.
Do a LinkedIn Advanced People Search
for people who live in your ZIP code and have the same job title as you. We’re often harsher critics of other people’s profiles than we are of our own. By looking at your peers’ LinkedIn profiles, you’ll get a better sense of what you like and don’t like about each of them. Make sure you incorporate that feedback into your own profile.
Become a magnet for endorsements.
When you add relevant LinkedIn Skills & Expertise
to your profile, your first-degree connections can endorse you for those specific skills. You can add up to 50 relevant skills and areas of expertise to your profile.
Make heads turn… with a killer professional headline.
Your professional headline is one of the first things people see in LinkedIn search results. By default, your professional headline is based on the title you entered for your most recent position, but you can edit it. Think of your professional headline just like the headline of a news article. You want to draw people in and entice them (whether they are potential hiring managers, business partners or clients), so they click through to read the whole story – in this case, your complete LinkedIn profile.
Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.