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2011's most overused resume buzzwords

By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
updated 11:06 AM EST, Tue December 13, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "Creative" is most common buzzword in analysis of 135 million LinkedIn profiles
  • Repeat offenders from last year's top 10 list include "innovative" and "motivated"
  • Banish buzzwords from lexicon and give concrete examples where possible, author says
  • "Use language that illustrates your unique professional accomplishments," she says

(CNN) -- Are you highly motivated? A creative, innovative thinker with a successful track record in effective problem solving? What about your organizational and communication skills? Do you have extensive experience maneuvering a dynamic workplace?

If any of this sounds familiar, then you've probably used one of the top 10 overused professional buzzwords in the United States in 2011, according to career-networking site LinkedIn.

The site culled its top 10 list from 135 million member profiles worldwide, finding that "creative" was the most overused word globally and in the United States. After that, the list goes:

2. Organizational

3. Effective

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4. Extensive experience

5. Track record

6. Motivated

7. Innovative

8. Problem solving

9. Communication skills

10. Dynamic

There are several repeat offenders from 2010's rankings, including "extensive experience," "innovative" and "motivated."

Meanwhile, "team player," "results-oriented," "entrepreneurial" and "fast-paced" fell off the list to make room this year for "creative," "communications skills," "organizational" and "effective."

The list also delivers small tweaks from last year. "Proven track record" is now "track record" and "problem solver" has become "problem solving."

What does it all mean? That the words are basically meaningless and don't help distinguish you from other job seekers, said Nicole Williams, LinkedIn's connection director and author of the book "Girl on Top."

"Banish buzzwords from your profile," she said. "Use language that illustrates your unique professional accomplishments and experiences. Give concrete examples of results you've achieved whenever possible and reference attributes that are specific to you."

In other words, with a new year around the corner and unemployment hovering around 9%, it might be a good time to dust off your resume and rethink the words you use to conjure your professional image.

The 2011 analysis also includes top buzzwords for countries in which LinkedIn conducted the study:

Creative: Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States

Multinational: Brazil

Dynamic: France

Effective: India

Problem solving: Italy

Motivated: Ireland

Managerial: Spain

Track record: Singapore

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