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LinkedIn Members Too ‘Creative’


Social networkers and job-seekers may need to get more creative in order to buck the weak jobs market – especially when it comes to their overuse of the word “creative,” according to a new survey.

For those who want to make a good first impression, be warned: “Creative” is the most commonly invoked adjective of the 60 million-plus U.S. members of the social networking site LinkedIn, according to a new report by the company.

LinkedIn profiles are overloaded with such buzzwords, which sometimes turn off employers, experts say. “As business winds down for the holidays, snag a few minutes to add some sparkle to your LinkedIn Profile and resume,” says Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s connection director. “Make sure you’re putting your best foot forward to tackle your professional resolutions.”

Some additional tips for jobseekers: Best to avoid terms like “putting your best foot forward,” keep language clear and simple, and don’t get caught up with clunky words obviously gleaned from a thesaurus, experts say. Williams suggests “concrete examples” of past achievements, plus recommendations from former managers.

As unemployment remains high, experts say the overuse of the word creative may suggest that job-seekers increasingly realize that experience alone may not be enough to make them stand out from the crowd. The No. 1 buzzword in 2010 was “extensive experience.” In 2011, it fell to No. 4 on the list.

“They’re really saying: ‘Give me a job in which I can be a decision-maker,’” says social psychologist Matt Wallaert. “They’re focusing more on what they want out of the business — not what they can offer to the business. Those people who held senior positions in former jobs may want more freedom and responsibility.”

LinkedIn’s 2011 Top 10 terms most overused words:

  1. Creative
  2. Organizational
  3. Effective
  4. Extensive experience
  5. Track record
  6. Motivated
  7. Innovative
  8. Problem solving
  9. Communication skills
  10. Dynamic

LinkedIn’s 2010 Top 10 terms most overused words:

  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


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  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to or tweet @SMPayDirt.