Everyone seems to want to be on LinkedIn these days, and rightfully so! Companies are searching for business partners, employers are looking for new workers to join their ranks, and networks are easily built on a Global scale. Unfortunately, several people jump in without thought as to how they can best craft their profile so that it is received the correct way, giving little thought to the phrases they are using. Using some very tired and uninteresting phrases in your LinkedIn profile can actually do you mare harm than good, so be sure to craft your profile with the recipient in mind. Using LinkedIn as an executive job search tool means carefully presenting all the information in a useful, tasteful, and relevant manner. It’s also challenging for recruiters and employers to see past these overused, boring terms when looking for your values, features, and benefits that you are going to bring to their organization!
However, with a little attention to detail and thought to how you are being perceived, you can pull the boring overused phrases out of your LinkedIn profile and replace them with powerful messages that are worthy of your career, leadership style, and brand message.
Here are some of the worst offenders lurking among LinkedIn Profiles, along with suggestions for better wording or helping you think about how you are being perceived:
WHY NOT – If you are not driven by results, most companies do not want you on their team. They have expectations of performance, and what they want is deeds nor words. It is almost a problem to put this on your profile, because it appears as if you are defending against a criticism before it happens. Never use phrases that appear defensive for the LinkedIn Profile at any time.
BETTER CHOICE - A company wants you to SHOW them how you achieve results instead of jut saying it. Have you navigated promotions in your past experience, or perhaps a detailed description of a special project where you exceeded expectations. Remember, the interview is all about your fit, and your LinkedIn profile helps to showcase your fit by what you say and how you say it. You might try adding information that actually PROVES your drive for results, with mention of how you’ve earned a promotion in just 6 months, or the ways in which your performance has outpaced that of your executive peers.
2 – ”Exceptional communicator”
WHY NOT – The trouble with this phrase is that it’s not only hard to prove, but several times when I have noticed this I have seen words spelled incorrectly as well. Why say that you are an exceptional communicator and then not back it up with proof?
BETTER CHOICE - Since your LinkedIn Profile gives you plenty of multi-media opportunities to demonstrate your communication skills, you should use them and showcase your skills. Speaking about complex ideas or identifying solutions through group discussions is a much better way to showcase your communication skills instead of using tired phrases. Using different social media channels such as a blog,book review, a slideshow or attaching your Twitter account will deliver a consistent message of what you think is important to say, and why. Demonstrating your communication and leadership skills through a regular discourse online will give you much better results than just saying it on your profile.
3 - ”Experienced”
WHY NOT - This is really stating the obvious. If you were not experienced, then why have all these positions you have performed in on your profile? If you are switching careers and are looking for something new, well you are not experienced then either.
BETTER CHOICE – Showcase what you have been doing and then relate that to the business sector that you are in. be careful though, because several people I have noticed creating these phrases make it sound like a jail term instead of an accomplishment. ”15 years as a sales professional” sounds like you have completed a prison sentence. Instead, something such as “Sales leader recognized for closing 125% of quota for 2009 and 2010 sales year” or “Spearheaded small sales team initiatives that generated 50% revenue increase over 6 months”. Give them the situation you were involved in, the actions you took, and the results that were generated.
4 – “Accomplished professional”
WHY NOT - If this is really a true statement, then show your readers why you can say this statement. This LinkedIn phrase is likely to irritate and annoy rather than inspire and demonstrate to your readers.
BETTER CHOICE - Instead, consider doing research into the companies you are applying for or the sector you are interested in applyign to and highlight achievements. I wrote a posting over here about applying for the right job the right way, and of course it applies to your LinkedIn profile phrases as well. Use a direct phrase that highlights some achievements that are relevant and dynamic. For me as an employment professional it could be “Spearheaded a two tiered training program for Social Media and job seekers unique to SW Ontario – over 95% of participants have given 5/5 rating on feedback to the workshops content and information”. Show the situation, describe the actions, show generated results. Adding specific data makes it much more relevant and specific, and therefore takes the guesswork out of reading the statement, so your reader can see that you ARE an accomplished professional instead of just a phrase saying so.
5 – “Proven success”
WHY NOT - Would an employer hire someone who is NOT a success? After all, why mention your success unless you have some proof to back it up?
BETTER CHOICE – Here is your chance yet again to give some concrete results instead of empty word on your LinkedIn profile. A phrase without proof is just that – a phrase. This is a specific place to add relevant metrics to your successes. Employers want to see deliverable items, so give it to them! Items such as “increased customer base by 200% in 12 months” or “exceeded quote targets for 5 out of the last 6 years” or “delivered project to completion 10% under budget and one month ahead of schedule”. By noting your achievements in such a way that the reader has very little left to the imagination of what you have been able to do, you are in essence helping them to see EXACTLY what you want them to see.
These achievements can help online readers understand the scope of your work and the reasons behind your executive career progression.
6 -”Responsible for”
WHY NOT – Just like a resume, it makes little sense to say things that are obvious. Sell the sizzle, not just the steak!
BETTER CHOICE - Rather than just say what is true, mention specific deliverable items. ”Actively managed a group of 10 staff” or “Accurately managed budget of 100M”. However it also pays sense to use good words to dress up the LinkedIn profile phrases. Adjectives are to profiles what seasoning is to a dish – it makes the whole experience so much better, but is best served to accentuate, not hide the basic items involved. Just as with any other seasoning, too much ruins the dish.
To summarize, the best thing is to stop, and take a good, long look at your LinkedIn profile. To me one of your first steps that makes sense is describing your Personal Vision Statement to yourself, so that you can create and manage your profile in a single direction, ensuring it is effective, interesting, and useful. This article can help with that first crucial step. If you can ask a friend to look over your profile, and then ask them what they get from reading it. Better to have a suggestion from a friend than be ignored by an employer! If you have any other comments on phrases to delete, please leave them below so we can all improve our profiles.