10 Words to Avoid on Your LinkedIn Profile

By Allison Kruse, Kforce

When I was in middle school, my favorite t-shirt had a cartoon of a Mason jar with arms, legs, two eyes and a smile. Below the character read: “Labels are for jars. And you are not a jar.”

I’m in my thirties now, and I wish I still had that thought-provoking shirt.

You likely appreciate the anti-bullying and anti-prejudice undertones, but I believe the shirt also conveys how important words are when describing ourselves. Are the words we use overly-generic and dull, or are they detailed, compelling and designed to help us stand out?

In today’s digital age, our online presence is as significant to our personal brand as what we say and do in real life. Many people in the business world will tell you that your LinkedIn profile is at the very center of your professional brand. Isn’t it worth our time to create a profile that stands out from the pack?

Most people may be satisfied with their current job but are open to a new opportunity. You never know when a potential employer is viewing your profile, and you don’t want to miss out on your dream job because your profile is vague and you’ve failed to optimize your personal brand. And, if you are actively looking for a new job or career, experts say professionals need to focus on their personal brand even more than those who aren’t.

As important as our personal brand and/or professional brand is nowadays, I’m surprised more people don’t take this seriously. Many people slap on overused buzzwords when describing themselves on LinkedIn – words like “excellent” and “expert” that don’t help a person stand out. Littering your profile with nondescript words will not impress a hiring manager.

Here are LinkedIn’s 2017 top 10 words to avoid on your profile:

Avoid these words on your LinkedIn profile

Business Insider and best-selling biographer Christopher Sandford partnered to study why people use language that makes them blend into the background rather than get noticed. Here’s what they found, taken straight from their article:

  • Ease:Using new language and being creative with the words on our profile can be a daunting prospect and it requires effort. Opting for common buzzwords requires less thought and is often a more convenient approach.
  • Everyone else does:We've seen our peers use buzzwords and assume it's the right thing to do — we think they sound professional without giving much thought to what the word really means.
  • Association:Some of us use buzzwords to illustrate and convey belonging to a certain group, or industry. It helps us to feel part of something and like we fit in.
  • Appearances: Buzzwords are often used to seem knowledgeable when we're not confident talking about our professional achievements. Writing about ourselves is a challenge and using buzzwords is a way to avoid specifics.

Don’t fall into the trap of using boring, over-used buzzwords.

Don't use these words on LinkedIn!