When you’re describing your experience and applying for a job do you let potential employers know that you’re motivated? Nice word—but everyone else uses it, too. “Motivated,” in fact, is the most overused buzzword on LinkedIn profiles, followed up by “passionate” and “creative.”
Why are so many of us motivated, passionate and creative? These words are easy, says Catherine Fisher, senior director of corporate communications for LinkedIn. “People are looking to describe who they are, and they probably understand that hiring managers would want to look for a motivated, creative and passionate individual,” she says. “I would stay away from these buzzwords, though, because you sound like everyone else. These words almost lose their meaning the more that people use them.”
But don’t go running for the thesaurus: Writing a compelling LinkedIn profile isn’t a lesson in synonyms (like “inspired,” “excited” or even “actuated”). Fisher says pictures speak louder than adjective-laden summaries.
“Instead of saying you’re motivated, show proof,” she says. “Upload samples of your work and say, ‘These are campaigns I worked on that I’m excited about.’ That translates into being motivated more than simply using the word.”
Since most people are visual, Fisher says candidates can quickly rise to the top by using pictures, videos and SlideShare decks that illustrate actual work. Did you help champion a program? Head up a successful campaign? Implement a new policy or best practice?
“When hiring managers look at profiles, many candidates have similar experience and describe themselves in a similar way,” she says. “What sets someone apart is when they show how their work translated into real results. Showing what you did will make your profile pop and encourage a hiring manager to want to learn more about you.”
Another place to shine is in your headline. “Don’t bury the news,” says Fisher. “Write a strong headline that makes people want to learn more about you.” Instead of saying “Mary Smith: Software Engineer,” for example, consider “Mary Smith: Solving complex technical problems through code.”
And use industry buzzwords with caution, says Fisher. If it’s something that is universally known in your field, use these words in the skills section of your LinkedIn profile, she suggests. In fact, listing your skills on your profile makes you 13 times more likely to be viewed on LinkedIn.
“You don’t want to be too broad and sound like everyone else,” Fisher says. “We recommend that you use a mix of broad and niche skills to ensure you show up in search results and demonstrate the full range of your talent.”
Finally, the best way to stand out on LinkedIn is to understand that your profile isn’t a static document.
“This isn’t a place to just share your work experience,” says Fisher. “Publish content, share status updates, and give your opinion on the industry in which you work. These things provide more of a flavor of who you are as professional, and that information sets you apart.”
Watch below for some LinkedIn profile photo tips: