Don’t be a cliché. Avoid these 2016 overused LinkedIn buzzwords in your profile and resume.

Strategic word placement is important not just for your resume, but for your LinkedIn profile, too. However, relevant keywords are different from overused buzzwords. You want to use relevant keywords (especially for your resume, which may go through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)) but overused professional buzzwords might turn away hiring managers.

Here are the most-used LinkedIn professional buzzwords for 2016:

  1. Creative

  2. Strategic

  3. Motivated

  4. Passionate

  5. Track record

  6. Enthusiastic

  7. Driven

  8. Successful

  9. Innovative

  10. Ambitious

Now we must ask this question: should you immediately remove them from your LinkedIn profile? If you do, what should take their place?

“Social media has changed the search and hiring process, and therefore the way recruiters engage candidates,” said LinkedIn’s Richard George. “Recruiters now have a wealth of potential candidates at their fingertips, but recruitment is still about relationships. People respond better to those with a human touch, so it’s important that recruiters feel comfortable ditching the jargon and being themselves.”

Use buzzwords sparingly

Don't use sentences with only buzzwords — these fall flat. Consider the following power statements that might be used for a resume or LinkedIn profile:

Strategic and creative Administrative Assistant with a track record of innovative and successful contributions.


Self-reliant, proactive, and computer-savvy Administrative Assistant with 10 years of experience supporting artistic projects for diverse clients.

The first statement uses five of the 10 overused words and falls flat. The second does a much better job of painting the job seeker within the context of skills and experience without going overboard on most-used jargon and buzzwords.

Show, don't tell

Experienced and effective writers know that telling is weaker than showing. If you simply state an ability or attribute using buzzwords without illustrating the specifics, you are telling; however, if you give a specific example, figure, case study, or highlight, then you are showing.

For example, "10 years of experience" is stronger than "extensive experience" because you let the reader see what "extensive" looks like. In most cases, stating that you "Secured a new client that resulted in $20K new revenue," is stronger than saying you "Increased profitability."

If showing the reader through buzzwords could work against you, opt to telling them about your experience. For example, terms like "extensive experience" become an asset if you would like the hiring manager to focus on more recent and relevant experience.

It’s better to be specific

If your LinkedIn profile and resume are riddled with these buzzwords, then it is possible that you do need to take a new approach. The most effective resume or career profile will demonstrate how you are creative rather than simply stating it. Instead of telling about a "creative problem-solving approach," describe what you did that was creative and how it solved the problem.

An effective resume or profile presents a summary of your skills and expertise. It serves as sort of an "executive summary" for your career. With specifics in your work history, you can be more general and descriptive in the summary: Because you "showed" in the experience section, you can "tell" in the summary. When a hiring manager sees "creative" in your summary, they are apt to look to your experience to see you prove it. When they do, they will be pleased, not annoyed.

Today, more than ever, it is important to be mindful of the words you're using and, above all, how you are using them to ensure that you get the greatest impact from your resume and LinkedIn profile.

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