December 16, 2010, 9:24 AM — If your LinkedIn profile includes any of the terms "dynamic, motivated, results-oriented or innovative problem solver with a proven track record," it's probably time for a profile makeover. Yesterday, LinkedIn released its top 10 overused buzzwords in U.S. member-profiles --descriptors, LinkedIn says, that are ambiguous and really don't say anything.
"These are the buzzwords that people see frequently in media, so they're reflecting what they read and hear," says Lewis Howes, author of LinkedWorking: Generating Success on the World's Largest Professional Networking Website. "They automatically go to these words because they think it's what people want to hear. Really, though, everyone is using them, and you need to find a way to stand out.
The United States isn't alone in its affinity for buzzwords, though. The U.S., Canada and Australia all overuse the phrase "extensive experience," according to LinkedIn. Brazil, Spain and India excessively use the word "dynamic," while the U.K. overuses "motivated." For France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, the number-one overused word is "innovative."
Want to start the New Year off fresh? Here are three quick changes you can make right away to your LinkedIn profile to ensure your profile sets you apart.
[Want more LinkedIn tips, tricks and analysis? Check out CIO.com's LinkedIn Bible.]
1. Keep Your Profile Simple
Read through your profile. Are you guilty of using too many buzzwords? If so, remove them and start your profile from scratch, focusing on the simplicity of what you say. When you're finished, ask yourself if a 12-year-old would understand the basis of what you do, says Howes.
"The key is to use simple words to tell others who you are, what you're doing and how you can help others," he says. "That's the message you're trying to convey, so keep it clean and make sure it's easily understood."
2. Keywords are Key; Revisit Them Often
One of the most common mistakes, says Wayne Breitbarth, author of The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success, is joining LinkedIn without a goal.
"If you don't know why you're there, how are you going to come up with a strategy?" he says.