Find the Right Words to Land the Right Job

January 24, 2018

It's that time of year again. People are thinking about exploring new opportunities and updating their LinkedIn profiles to help land a new job that's right for them. When it comes to perfecting your profile, the words you choose are a vitally important factor in helping you get you noticed by recruiters.

So to help, we've taken a look at the top words professionals used to describe themselves in this year's Top 10 Global Buzzwords and dug into why so many people are choosing these words.

LinkedIn’s 2017 Top 10 Global Buzzwords are:

  • Specialize

  • Experienced

  • Skilled

  • Leadership

  • Passionate

  • Expert

  • Motivated

  • Creative

  • Strategic

  • Focused

I’m as guilty as anyone in using some of these words in my profile, so it did get us thinking – why do many of us choose these words and has the way we describe ourselves changed over time?

When we reviewed the Buzzwords from the last five years, one of the biggest changes was the shift towards highlighting skills and experiences over personal strengths. For example, professionals were less likely to describe themselves as ‘successful’ last year despite describing themselves as more ‘skilled’. In fact, the word ‘successful’ dropped out of the top 10 for the first time since 2015, while ‘skilled’ entered the ranks for the first time.

To help understand what this all means for the modern-day job seeker, we turned to Professor of Sociolinguistics Rodney Jones from the University of Reading.

“This narrowing down from generic terms to far more specific words such as ‘skilled’ and ‘experienced’ reflects a change in job roles that are becoming more specialised,” says Professor Jones. “Roles in the banking and pharma sector, for example, are under increasing scrutiny and as a result require more verifiable skills and attributes.”

‘Expert’ re-entered the top 10 in 2016, while ‘specialized’ topped the global list in both 2016 and 2017, as professionals look to verify their expertise.

“This type of language can be viewed as a wider comment on how society is searching for accountability and verifiability; in part a reaction to the increasing focus on ‘fake news’ surrounding the 2016 U.S. Presidential election and Brexit referendum. Where once there was a focus on branding one’s own authenticity, economic uncertainty means authenticity is no longer important, it’s about verifiability.”

The Buzzwords data also reveals an increased use of ‘leadership’ in recent years, jumping in at number one in 2015’s list and maintaining a presence in the top five ever since.

Professor Jones explains, “Companies are becoming less hierarchical - even junior members are expected to demonstrate leadership. In contrast, ‘organised’ fell out of the top ten after 2015 as professionals search to demonstrate management capabilities over more functional attributes.”

If you’ve been thinking about a fresh start or a change in direction then your LinkedIn profile is a good place to begin. With recruiters using keywords to identify the ideal candidates, think about the words you’re using and choose them wisely. There has never been a better time to ensure the words you choose are selling you as powerfully as they would do in an interview.

Do you use these words? Does Professor Jones’ analysis ring true to you? Join the conversation at #LinkedInBuzzwords