Recruiting and hiring professionals often chastise job seekers for using weak, meaningless buzzwords on their resumes and social profiles – but maybe they should get their own houses in order before they start wagging their fingers at others.

According to new research from LinkedIn, recruiters are just as guilty of smattering their LinkedIn profiles with empty clichés.

By analyzing millions of recruiter and company pages on the website, LinkedIn came up with lists of the ten most common buzzwords deployed by recruiters and employers:

The 10 Most Overused Buzzwords on Recruiters’ LinkedIn Profiles:

  1. Specialized
  2. Leadership
  3. Experienced
  4. Focused
  5. Strategic
  6. Passionate
  7. Excellent
  8. Expert
  9. Generalist
  10. Successful

The 10 Most Overused Buzzwords on LinkedIn Company Pages:

  1. Solutions
  2. Unique
  3. Leading
  4. Expert
  5. Vision
  6. Great
  7. Innovative
  8. Creative
  9. Platform
  10. Strategic

It’s easy to see why these words are so common. They communicate ideas that are important to a number of industries. What recruiter doesn’t want to be seen as “successful”? What organization would hide its “innovative” activities?

However, when job seekers are bombarded by the same words over and over again no matter which organization or employer they’re dealing with, distinctions start to blur. Every employer and recruiter looks the same as all the rest. There’s nothing to excite the candidate about working with you or your company in particular.

The words themselves also start to lose meaning. When practically every organization describes its people as “experts,” you start to wonder if  being an expert is really all that important. If everyone and their mother has a “leading” “vision,” is such vision really all that special?

Show, Don’t Tell

So, how do you avoid falling into the buzzword trap? How do you use language that really sets you and/or your company apart from the competition? According to LinkedIn, it all comes down to the old creative writing adage, “Show, don’t tell.”

Instead of describing your organization as “innovative,” share a specific story that illustrates the organization’s innovative work. Instead of simply telling people you’re a “successful” recruiter, regale them with tales of your previous placements.

Need more help? Check out this article if you’re a recruiter and this one if you’re tasked with overhauling the company page.

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