Buzzwords: to use or not to use | ESP IT Buzzwords: to use or not to use | ESP IT


Buzzwords: to use or not to use

Last week, LinkedIn announced the most overused buzzwords on profiles in 2011. As reported by CNN, Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s connection director, instructs job seekers to “Banish buzzwords from your profile. Use language that illustrates your unique professional accomplishments and experiences. Give concrete examples of results you’ve achieved whenever possible and reference attributes that are specific to you.”
While the common use of these buzzwords means that they don’t necessarily help a  résumé stand out, job postings are still calling for dynamic (#10) individuals, with strong communication skills (#9). Usually these postings ask for highly motivated (#6) individuals, who are organized (#2) and have a track record (#5) of effective (#3) or creative (#1) problem solving (#8). So, should job seekers really ditch all these terms, just because they are used a lot? I don’t think so.
As long as HR is asking for people with these skills, your résumé should show you have them (assuming you DO have them, of course). Why should job seekers risk not having their résumé get past the screening because they’ve left out the buzzwords HR requested in the job description?
But job seekers should listen to the second half of Williams’ advice: give concrete examples. Don’t just throw as many buzzwords into your résumé or on your profile as possible; instead think about the ones that are accurate and relevant to the job and in addition, be sure to use specific language that illustrates your accomplishments and strengths. As is always the case, if you really want a job, take the extra time to tailor your résumé (and your LinkedIn profile if necessary) to the specific position(s) you want.
LinkedIn’s 2011 list of overused buzzwords

  1. Creative
  2. Organizational
  3. Effective
  4. Extensive experience
  5. Track record
  6. Motivated
  7. Innovative
  8. Problem solving
  9. Communication skills
  10. Dynamic

Interested in more résumé advice from ESP? Check out our latest newsletter article for candidates and find out 5 tips for getting your résumé out of the ‘no’ pile.


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