Well, they shouldn’t – they should be uniquely yours. LinkedIn recently published its annual list of the most overused buzzwords found in its 259-million member global profiles. Topping the list were the words ‘responsible,’ ‘strategic,’ and ‘creative.’ Your executive resume and LinkedIn profile should uniquely convey your professional brand, which means avoiding mundane and weightless words and phrases. If you want to stand out from everyone else, you can’t sound like everyone else. Does your resume and online profile suffer from an overuse of common buzzwords?
To differentiate yourself from millions of other professionals, you want to be sure your message tells the reader, in specific terms, what you have done. By linking your skill set to tangible, measurable results, you can effectively demonstrate your value without losing the essence of your message in a sea of buzzwords. For example, rather than using the #1 overused buzzword in your statement, ‘Responsible for the company’s marketing strategy,’ use active language to describe the scope of your role. Instead, you could write, ‘Led 100-member marketing organization and strategy for $750M global, e-commerce retailer.’ This gives your reader more tangible information, puts your role into perspective, and differentiates you from everyone else who is also ‘responsible for marketing strategy.’
Don’t tell them what you do; show them what you’ve done. Hiring executives want concrete examples of your achievements. Vague references to general responsibilities and innuendos to success in your role won’t get you noticed. If you were responsible for the company’s sales organization, stating just that won’t make you stand out. However, you can convey that message and more by demonstrating the impact of your leadership by stating, ‘Led 100-member sales organization to achieve record-company, year-over-year growth of 35%.’
You may still want to convey that you are, in fact, creative, responsible, and a strategic thinker – but the goal is to demonstrate how and why you are creative, responsible and strategic. What did you do that would show your strategic agility? That’s the information that should replace overused buzzwords in your professional marketing documents. Of course, there will be instances when the use of a common buzzword is warranted, but only when you can demonstrate the ‘how’ and ‘why’ to support your claim.
How will you stand out from the crowd in 2014? If you need help creating an executive resume and LinkedIn profile that’s uniquely yours, please contact me for a complimentary consultation.