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Professional networking, both in person and on sites such as LinkedIn, results in countless new partnerships and employment relationships being formed every single day.

Yet it’s all too easy to be entrapped by crafty wordsmiths who use buzzwords to sell themselves.

LinkedIn has once again revealed its annual buzzwords list – and the most overused word in 2013 was not ‘innovative’, or ‘disruptive’, but ‘responsible’.

The top 10 words that appeared in professional profiles this year were:


As with all fads and trends, over the past four years a variety of buzzwords have risen and fallen in terms of their popularity.

In 2010, ‘extensive experience’ was the top buzzword in Australia, and for two years running in both 2011 and 2012, the top buzzword was ‘creative.’

Sally-Anne Blanshard, Director of Nourish Coaching commented that using overused terms such as ‘responsible’, ‘strategic’ and ‘effective’ will only take people so far – and it certainly won’t help professionals stand out from the crowd.

“When highlighting professional attributes on your LinkedIn profile or resume; think about what sets you apart, be it your experience, professional accomplishments or awards. Use specific, real examples of your work including presentations, photos and videos that demonstrate your skills and expertise. These will hold far more weight with recruiters and potential employers than a list of overused words,” Blanshard said.

The same attributes can be demonstrated without using buzzwords, and Blanshard said one of the best ways to do this is by tying attributes to results.

“Link your skills to a specific result that demonstrates your competence. Whenever possible, especially for buzzwords like “innovative,” “strategic” and “creative,” upload an example of your work to your profile such as a photo, video or presentation to give others a better representation of your talent,” she said.

What’s more, letting others verify your skills can be worth its weight in gold, as long as they are from reputable sources.

“When you are seeking recommendations, ask your connection to speak specifically to the skill set you are looking to emphasise and ideally tie it to an outcome they witnessed,” Blanshard added.

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Stephanie Zillman

Stephanie Zillman

Stephanie is the editor-at-large of Dynamic Business. Stephanie brings with her a passion for journalism, business, and new ideas. On her days off, you might find her reading a book on the beach.

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