LinkedIn, the world’s largest online network for professionals, has published its annual list of the 10 most frequently used words in its Dutch member profiles.
The list, based on an analysis of seven million Dutch user profiles, is topped by ‘specialised’ followed by ‘leadership’ and ‘focused’. In 2016, the qualities users thought most likely to seduce employers were ‘creative’, ‘driven’ and ‘passionate’. So what has changed?
According to LinkedIn spokesperson Anoek Eckhardt the new buzzwords may be ‘a sign of the times’. ‘It could be that in an economic upturn and a lack of staff in certain areas people try to make their profile stand out by emphasising their experience and specialisms,’ she told the Volkskrant.
‘These clichés remind me of a herring stand at the beach,’ personal branding expert Cees Harmsen told the paper. ‘It often has a sign saying ‘ really fresh fish’. But it’s normal the fish should be fresh and the fact that it’s fish we can tell from three miles away. LinkedIn is full of this sort of superfluous words.’
Writer and linguist Wim Daniëls thinks using clichés does not make a great deal of difference to your chance of landing a job.
‘Some people describe themselves as ‘people persons’. That to me sounds horrendous. But it could very well be that there is an employer out there who loves to read that you are a passionate people person,’ he told the paper.
So what should the hapless LinkedIn users put to get themselves noticed instead of the qualifications they have hastily removed?
According to Dutch business magazine Quote, the best way to go about is to put a catchy phrase under your name which captures your ‘professional personality’ and use clichés.
‘Using buzzwords is not a big deal as long as you stand out. Recruiters conduct searches using these words. It may even pay to use them but you need a good story to go with them,’ Quote advises.
The Dutch LinkedIn buzzwords: