Top ten buzzwords for a dreary resume

Business networking site LinkedIn has been playing buzz-word Bingo with its customers’ resumes and has come up with ten phrases it says are the kiss of death to your job prospects.

Top of the list is ‘extensive experience’, followed by ‘innovative’ – which basically shows you aren’t. ‘Motivated’ and ‘results-oriented’ aren’t much better.

Next most over-used are ‘dynamic’, ‘proven track record’ and ‘team player’, followed by ‘fast-paced’, ‘problem solver’ and ‘entrepreneurial’ (so why aren’t you running your own business, smartypants?).

“We wanted to reveal insights that help professionals make better choices about how to position themselves online, whether they are reaching out to new clients or networking with peers,” says DJ Patil, LinkedIn’s chief data scientist.

Key, says LinkedIn, is to avoid generalizations and be as specific as possible about your achievements.

“Phrases like ‘extensive experience’ and ‘proven track record’ can appear empty to a potential employer and may do more harm than good when you include them in your profile or resume,” says Lindsey Pollak, a ‘career and workplace expert’ (who doesn’t feel the need to be any more specific about her own job).

“If you’re using any of these 10 terms, wipe them out. Instead, note that you have eight to ten years of experience or that you increased sales by 300 percent. Include meaningful phrases that apply specifically to highlights you’ve achieved in your career.”

While we’re on the subject of meaningless buzzwords, personally my pet hate is the phrase ‘reached out’. PR people – and DJ Patil – please note: you haven’t saved me from a lonely death and being eaten by my cats, you’ve just sent me an email. Perspective, please.