Monday 23 October 2017

Updating your LinkedIn profile? Here's exactly what (not) to do to grab that dream job

LinkedIn app
LinkedIn app
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Keeping your online CV up to date with all your accomplishments over the last year may reflect just how hardworking, passionate and focused you are - but it might be best to keep these adjectives to yourself.

January is a busy month for many looking to make a fresh start at a new firm or, indeed, make a leap into a new career. And this week is historically the busiest week for LinkedIn profile updates in Ireland.

But before you start telling all your professional connections just how experienced you are in your specialised field, take a look at the most overused buzzwords on the popular network. It might help you stand out from the crowd.

New to the Top 10 list - but jumping right in at No. 1 -  is ‘specialised’ with over 30,000 LinkedIn members in Ireland using the term on their profile; while ‘motivated’ has fallen out of the top 10 to 15th place.

The top 10 Irish buzzwords for 2017 are:

1. specialised

2. leadership

3. experienced

4. excellent

5. passionate

6. focused

7. hard working

8. strategic

9. enthusiastic

10. creative

Close to reaching the top 10 saturation point include: ‘expert’ (12th), ‘successful’ (18th) and ‘driven’ (19th) - not mention the new buzzwords that have emerged including ‘interdisciplinary’, ‘savvy’, ‘distinguished’, ‘thinker’, ‘entrepreneurial’ and ‘aggressive.’ 

“These popular buzzwords do little to communicate why we’re good at our jobs so we would urge everyone to assess their profiles to make sure they’re presenting their best selves,” says Wendy Murphy, Senior HR Director, LinkedIn EMEA.

“Repetitive corporate jargon will turn off potential new employers so instead of describing ourselves as ‘specialised’, ‘creative’ or ‘hard working’, why not bring your professional accomplishments to life by sharing samples of your work on LinkedIn like presentations or photos from events to demonstrate how you live these buzzwords, not merely say them.”

Bestselling biographer Christopher Sandford said that the language we use says a lot about us so it’s important to choose carefully, especially in a professional context.

"Too often we hide behind buzzwords which don’t mean anything, whether out of a desire to keep things simple, or because we don’t feel confident talking about our work accomplishments," he said.

In that vein, Sandford has provided four top tips for those looking to improve their LinkedIn profile this year


1.         Mind your language

Your profile summary is one of the first things people look at, so it’s important to get it right. You want the reader to want to know more about you, so start with something punchy. You can do this through specific phrases, storytelling or even clever use of punctuation. Don’t be afraid to lead with a short sentence, such as ‘Music is my first love.’ Above all, you should always keep your reader, or customer, firmly in mind.


2.         Be direct

It’s often tempting to speak in the third person when it comes to our working lives - don’t! It’s impersonal and won’t draw the reader in. Take a professional tone and be assertive and direct when you’re talking about your achievements, don’t hide behind buzzwords or jargon. At the same time, don’t shy away from adding some personality to your language – this is a great way to show your character.


3.         Make the most of your experience

List out all your relevant previous roles and describe what you did in everyday language. This will help people understand the breadth of your ‘work story’ - a complete profile reflects a well-rounded person.


4.         Show, don’t just tell

While language is important, so is showing real examples of your work. Instead of using buzzwords like ‘strategic’, prove it by uploading presentations or projects that bring this to life. These are individual to you and help paint the picture of your special skills and unique background – whether that’s an image from a launch of a big campaign or the blog you write in your spare time

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