Talent Acquisition

Recruiter’s Buzzword Bingo: Who Wants to Play?

Everyone enjoys playing games – especially if it’s a welcome distraction from real work. Sadly there’s no prize on offer here but if you win you could get bragging rights all week which, lets face it, is worth more than any prize.

With the start of the new year a lot of people are considering changing their job, updating their online profiles or CVs or maybe even considering overhauling their careers completely. Everybody wants to stand out and make sure their profile is more unique than the next person’s but this is easier said than done. In fact, LinkedIn has just released the most overused words by the UK’s recruitment professionals on their profiles.

Buzzword bingo rules

Go through yours and your colleagues’ profiles and see how many of the buzzwords listed below you’ve used. You get 10 points for every word listed below appears in the profiles and winner is the person with the lowest score.

The top 10 buzzwords UK recruiters use are:

1. Specialised

Now everyone claims their job is “specialised” but how about saying “I am an expert in” (that’s only if you are of course, don’t claim to be good at something you’re not) or maybe you can use the word “specialism”? Ok ok, I know its not that different from “specialised” but it still works.

2. Leadership

Leadership skills are crucial if you’re in management or C-suite jobs and you would definitely want this on your profile or CV. But how about saying you’re an “influential manager” or that you “lead from the front”? Try it.

3. Experienced

Most recruiters want experienced candidates. I mean, they’re not going to put forward someone who has got zero experience. So the fact that you’ve listed a particular job on your profile already shows that you have experience in that field without having to spell it out.

4. Focussed

This is a word a lot of people tend to use, but what does it actually mean? Focussed on what? Maybe you can say you are driven or dedicated? They both work equally well.

5. Strategic

This basically means you’re good at planning stuff or that you work in a particular way. I quite like the word tactical – it also looks clever but if your job is as a strategist then I guess there’s no getting away from using the word Strategic.

6. Passionate

Romeo and Juliet were passionate. It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it on a profile or a CV does it? Maybe you can just say you really enjoy a particular aspect of the job/role/industry you want to work in? I might even stretch to letting you say you love it.

7. Excellent

Now this takes me back to the movie Bill and Ted’s Excellent adventure. They loved that word and it seems like a lot of you do too. I would just say you were really good at your particular skill, or maybe you can say you are “exceptional” or even “accomplished”? Just throwing these suggestions out there in case you hadn’t considered them.

8. Expert

Who says you are an expert? Has this been qualified? Maybe you are an expert in your field and if that’s the case then feel free to use it as much as you want.

9. Generalist

Now you’re just showing off! No, really you are. Why don’t you say how good you are at the many different things you claim to be good at? The thing is you can’t be a specialist AND a generalist, so it’s probably just best to say what you can do instead of letting the recruiter guess that you are good at everything.

10. Successful

Everybody wants to be successful – especially in their career. But instead of saying you are successful, maybe you can list the number of awards you’ve received or been nominated for? Or maybe you can talk about how well you launched a particular project that went live? There are lots of different ways of saying you are successful without having to use that word.

That’s it, your time’s up so who is the winner? As we know there is no real winner but knowing which overused words NOT to use on your CV or profile may just make you streets ahead of your competitor and possibly bag you that dream job.

Let’s buzz the experts

Lysha Holmes of Qui Recruitment:

I would encourage recruiters to think “elevator style pitch” when it comes to writing their profile. Naff terms such as “guru”, “champion”, et al don’t necessarily convey a professional image. Think about the context of your business and brand within your market. Amend your profile during the year to keep it fresh. Above all what do you want someone to think of when they read your name.

James Nathan of the James Nathan Experience:

The importance of a well written LinkedIn profile is vital for any professional looking to build a strong and authoritative reputation in the market and to convey a quality personal brand. We all know that first impressions count, and LinkedIn may well be someone’s first impression of you. I would encourage all recruiters to look critically at their profiles, from the viewpoint of a potential client or candidate, and make sure it encourages that person to want to connect with and contact them. Does it allow the reader to understand exactly who you help and how you can help them? Buzz word after buzz word may be easy to write, but is unlikely to achieve this goal.

Stephen Chambers of John Lewis Partnership:

When we’re considering candidates to join the John Lewis Partnership Resourcing team we’re looking for professionals who understand how to shape their own professional profile, as well as spot a strong one in others. Standing out from the crowd is part of this. I’d encourage all recruiters to make sure they’re not falling into the trap of using buzzwords on their LinkedIn profiles, and being true ambassadors for their employer brand.

By Ushma Mistry

Editor & Content Strategist at Link Humans, download our new eBook now: Measuring Employer Brand: The Ultimate Guide and check out our latest product The Employer Brand Index.