Buzzwords: not just from candidates

Today LinkedIn posted a list of the top ten buzzwords users mentioned in their profiles. The top ten in the USA are:

1. Extensive experience
2. Innovative
3. Motivated
4. Results-oriented
5. Dynamic
6. Proven track record
7. Team player
8. Fast-paced
9. Problem solver
10. Entrepreneurial

These results don’t surprise me a bit. When job searchers hear about their resumes and cover letters being scanned for those buzzwords, they feel the need to stuff their resumes with the same buzzwords that employers use in their job descriptions. Don’t believe me? I have a couple of job descriptions in front of me right now. Let’s take a look. The first one is relatively buzzword-free, though it does mention motivation and being a team player in the traits needed for this position. I’m proud of you, large company. I expected you to be the one filled with the most buzzwords.

The second position is at a small company that’s looking for a dynamic person. Uh-oh. One sentence in and they’re already speaking buzz. Luckily the rest of the job description is (mostly) buzz-free, partly thanks to the qualification listing.

But the third job. Oh, the third job. Let’s take a look.

“…work in a vibrant environment that fuses the dynamic worlds…”

Hello, buzz. I didn’t miss you.

From the qualifications section and in the same bullet point: “self-starter, innovative thinker”. Wow, they managed to cram two buzzwords in one bullet! I’m not sure whether to give them a cookie or take it away.

And another one a bit further down: “Ability to work in fast paced growing environment.”

Wow, that’s four in one job description. One buzzword that should get an honorable mention is “detail-oriented”. I’ve seen that in so many job descriptions that the term has lost its meaning by now. Of course employers want people who check for the little things. Assuming being detail-oriented isn’t a critical part of the job, it shouldn’t have be said. If employers stop using these buzzwords constantly, then maybe prospective employees will stop using them as well when introducing themselves, and everyone can start being more genuine when looking for a good fit.

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