2010's Most Overused Buzzwords

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I know this is the season of love, but I'm having a hard time developing any love for corporate-speak.

At the end of the day, circling back from a deep dive, I hate it. I've made a crusadeof calling people out on using incomprehensible gobbledygook to look smarter.

I know there are bigger causes I should get behind, but I'm a small-minded person. Use the phrase "thought leader" in front of me and you will suffer the consequences.

LinkedIn has just released the "Top 10 overused buzzwords" used in profiles.

"Wonder what really makes people cringe when they look at your LinkedIn Profile?" the business networking site asks. "It's those clichéd words and phrases. You know what they are - those ambiguous ones that really don't tell you anything."

By the way, "buzzwords" is another word I'd like to ditch.

Among the 85 million profiles on LinkedIn in the U.S., the most overused buzzwords are:

  1. Extensive experience (But it's so alliterative!)
  2. Innovative (Jonas Salk was innovative, not you)
  3. Motivated (If you have to tell someone you're motivated...)
  4. Results-oriented (i.e., you consider the means to those ends...ahem..."flexible".)
  5. Dynamic (Let me be the judge of that.)
  6. Proven track record (Use this AND "extensive experience" in the same profile, and I will hunt you down.)
  7. Team player (Which means you're not.)
  8. Fast-paced (If that includes talking fast, pass.)
  9. Problem solver (Are you suggesting my company has a problem that needs solving?)
  10. Entrepreneurial (Rube Goldberg was also entrepreneurial...)

My suggestion, instead of saying, "I'm a dynamic problem solver motivated by an entrepreneurial spirit to innovate, with a proven track record and extensive experience to thrive as a team player in a results-oriented environment" (BARF), how about saying, "I have always worked really hard to produce a profitable product. Ask anyone."


LinkedIn went one further, looking at profiles in other countries. Professionals in Brazil, India and Spain most often refer to themselves as "Dynamic", the Brits are "Motivated", and many on the Continent are "innovative" (Oh, really? Please let me know what's so innovative about the Eurozone at the moment.)

The best part of the survey is the reader comments. "I'm surprised that 'Social Media Evangelist' didn't make it," writes Jeff Zelaya. "I'm so tired of seeing that one and still can't quite figure out what it means."

And this warning from Troy Roark: "Oh… if I hear one more person use the word 'transparency' this year, someone is going down! :)"

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