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The Top 10 Words You Should Never Use in Your LinkedIn Profile

Aug 28

I love Fast Company magazine from about five years ago.  Their writers pushed the envelope and challenged me in almost every article to rethink business and leadership. I couldn’t wait for the next copy to come out.

Recently, they’ve fallen off a ton on the quality side.  I blame their need to deliver daily content versus month content. When you have thirty days to put out limited content, you can make it really good. When you do daily content, some will be good, some will be complete crap.

Case in point, Fast Company recently posted an article titled “The 10 Words You Should Never Use In Your LinkedIn Profile” written by Stephanie Vozza.  It’s not really Fast Companies best work. It’s boring. It’s vanilla. They could have done so much better with this!

Here are the ten words Fast Company says you shouldn’t use on your LinkedIn profile:

LinkedIn Top Ten Global Buzzwords for 2014

  1. Motivated
  2. Passionate
  3. Creative
  4. Driven
  5. Extensive experience
  6. Responsible
  7. Strategic
  8. Track record
  9. Organizational
  10. Expert

These are all based on Vozza’s assumption that you shouldn’t use the same words as everyone else if you want your profile to standout. Not bad advice, but it’s not classic Fast Company advice.  It’s not edgy, or snarky, or fun.  It didn’t challenge me to think differently!

The “real” list of 10 Words You Should Never Use in Your LinkedIn Profile:

  1. Parole
  2. Moist
  3. Gingivitis
  4. Erection
  5. Maverick
  6. Disgruntled
  7. Horney
  8. Manscaping
  9. Purge
  10. Juicy

Honorable Mentions:  Any gross medical type terms – pus, mucous, ooze, cyst.  Ginormous. Retarded.  Nugget.

See!  My list is much better!  That is the list that Fast Company would have put out five years ago!

If you use Fast Company’s list, sure no one will notice your profile, but you can still get a job, and people will want to connect with you.  If you use words on my list, there’s not a chance you’ll get a job or connections.  Well, you might get connections, but probably not the ones you really want!

So, how do you make your LinkedIn profile stand out?

  • Have a pretty/handsome picture of yourself.
  • Don’t write your profile like you’re a used car salesman.
  • Tell people about yourself in real terms.
  • Let your personality come through, but make it the best side of your personality.

Here’s the deal. There is no secret sauce in building your profile because LinkedIn has become so diverse in its user base.  You need to write your profile for the type of person and company you want to connect with.  If you want to work for a big traditional, conservative company, you might want to tone down the profile to fit.  If you want to work for some cool, hip, new startup, you better not sound like your want to work for IBM.

Organizations tend to hire what they see in the mirror.  You need to look like they look. Not physically, but in your words and actions.

3 Comment to “The Top 10 Words You Should Never Use in Your LinkedIn Profile”

  1. The more relevant content here is the demise of #FastCompany. I’ve subscribed since 1999. It use to be so provocative and compelling and huge. It still shows up monthly (5 year subscription) but gets tossed in a pile without being opened. Hate it for them! Fun article from you though…

    Sep 2, 2015
  2. As someone who went from IBM (some people in the office wore sandals) to a hot startup (SF hipster), I can say it’s important to look like the team you want to join. Not all departments are created equally. Love this piece, Tim.

    Bryan Chaney
    Sep 2, 2015
  3. I 100% agree that being “real” is the correct way to go. Everyone wants to make themselves sound perfect. But, no one is perfect. People are attracted to those who are authentic.

    Aug 28, 2015

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