Funny Business with Jane Wells

‘Creative’ - The Buzzword for 2011


Did you spend part of 2011 dusting off your resume? Did you try to accentuate the positive and package yourself in the most marketable way?

I sure hope you chose your words carefully.

LinkedIn has released its list of the most overused buzzwords for 2011. Coming in first place is "creative." It was the number one buzzword among LinkedIn profiles in the U.S., as well as Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK.

I guess calling yourself creative isn't very...creative.

Other favorite words Americans put in their LinkedIn profiles:

  • Organizational
  • Effective
  • Extensive experience (which was #1 in 2010)
  • Track record
  • Motivated
  • Innovative (This remains my pet peeve--Steve Jobs was innovative, not you)
  • Problem solving
  • Communications skills
  • Dynamic

Do any of these words really tell you anything anymore, or do your eyes glaze over whenever a motivated, innovative, effective problem solver darkens your office doorstep with his/her dynamic communication skills?

LinkedIn also has a list of the top buzzwords in various countries. Italians opt for "problem solving". Huh, that's interesting, considering what's going on over there. Brazilians like to say they're "multinational", the French are "dynamic", resumes from India repeatedly use the word "effective", and the Irish are "motivated" (I bet they are).

What may be most interesting are the top buzzwords from 2010 which have fallen out of favor. These include "results-oriented", "team player", "fast-paced" and even "entrepreneurial". Apparently entrepreneurial team players who can produce results post haste are no longer chic.

Frankly, I think it's time for a vocabulary makeover.

Here are some words or phrases I'd like to see on resumes in 2012:

  • Tebow-esque (better than calling yourself "a winner")
  • The Anti-Corzine (this tells people you can remember things)
  • iPad-worthy (whatever this refers to--you're credibility, work ethic, fashion sense--if you say it's good enough for the iPad, it's good enough for me)
  • One percent(two words which summarize your aspirations better than anything)

Any other suggestions? Let us know in the comments section below.

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