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LinkedIn: How to build a standout profile

LinkedIn: How to build a standout profile

Avoid weightless descriptions like ‘responsible’, which is the most used buzzword in profiles of New Zealand members.They will not land you your dream job, says the social network.

‘Responsible’, ‘strategic’ and ‘effective’ are the top three words that appear most often in the profiles of professionals in New Zealand, according to LinkedIn.

The words ‘creative’, ‘passionate’, ‘innovative’, ‘positive’, ‘expert’, ‘driven’ and ‘dynamic’ round up the top 10 in the list, says the social network, as it releases its fourth annual report on most overused words in its member profiles.

Unfortunately, using words such as ‘responsible, ‘strategic’ and ‘effective’ will not necessarily help you land your dream job and certainly won’t help you stand out from the crowd, says Sally-Anne Blanshard, director and coach, Nourish Coaching.

When highlighting professional attributes on your LinkedIn profile or resume, think about what sets you apart, says Blanshard. It could be your experience, professional accomplishments or awards.

She advises using specific, real examples of your work including presentations, photos and videos that demonstrate skills and expertise. “These will hold far more weight with recruiters and potential employers than a list of overused words."

Related:The brand called CIO Social media is a good channel to promote your brand, says Marcus Darbyshire of Gartner. If there is only one social network CIOs can pick, he advises LinkedIn. “Aim for 500-plus connections. Make sure you get recommendations from your bosses and colleagues over a period of time.”.

Instead of using ‘weightless’ buzzwords in your profile, LinkedIn lists some alternatives:

Tie it to a result: Link your skill to a specific result that demonstrates your competence. Whenever possible, especially for words like ‘innovative’, ‘strategic’ and ‘creative’, upload an example of your work to your profile such as a photo, video or presentation to provide a better representation of your talent.

Let others vouch for you: Another way to verify skills that the majority of others are also touting is to seek endorsements or recommendations from reputable sources. Ask your connection to speak specifically to the skill you want to emphasise and ideally tie it to an outcome they witnessed.

Use active language: Rather than stating you are responsible for something, demonstrate how that assignment delivered results. For example, instead of stating you are “responsible for social media”, use “accomplished goal of growing social media audience for the brand ten-fold under my supervision” and provide visuals to further demonstrate it.

Mirror the language of companies you aspire to work for: Follow that company on LinkedIn and you will find a lot of information that will guide you in your focus. By researching companies you aspire to work with, you can discover the right tone that you want to include in your profile. If you're unsure what words to use to describe your professional experience or need to switch out one of your buzzwords, go to the source and use one of theirs.

LinkedIn says the survey covered only English language profiles in 14 countries. Interestingly, some of the clichés appeared more often in certain regions. For instance, ‘enthusiastic’ is only in the top 10 in Britain, while the word ‘patient’ takes this distinction in the United States. ‘Passionate’ is in the top 10 only in Australia and New Zealand.

Follow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinap

Follow CIO New Zealand on Twitter:@cio_nz

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