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Creative? Show, don't tell

When everyone is creative, how will it make a difference to employers to say that you're creative too?

"Creative" is the most-used word on LinkedIn profiles, according to a review of millions of user pages on the professional networking site.

Nicole Williams, connection director for LinkedIn, says you can't stand out from the pack when millions describe themselves with the same words.

This year's other top buzzwords were organizational, effective, extensive experience, track record, motivated, innovative, problem-solving, communication skills and dynamic.

"It's okay to use some common language," Williams said in a telephone interview from New York. "But if everyone is 'creative,' the word becomes null and void. Instead of telling someone you're creative, you need to show them."

That can be hard to do in a space-challenged resume. It can be a bit easier if you create a PDF with a hyperlink to your LinkedIn profile. But the goal, however you manage it, is to describe a specific accomplishment that illustrates how you exercised creativity.

If you can't share an example that produced financial benefits for your employer or led to personal recognition, then you should rethink how you describe yourself.

Also, Williams said, don't waste space on "motivated." "No one will say they're unmotivated," she said. "If you really want to claim 'motivated' as an asset, give a specific example. Or switch out that buzzword with something more unconventional."

Williams also warned that "synergy" and "team player" pop up a lot. Neither of those are specific, and people have different ideas of what they mean. Avoid them, she advised.

Admittedly, it's hard to follow advice to ban buzzwords if you're trying to match your credentials to requirements listed on job postings.

If a posting asks for "motivated" applicants, include the word so your resume gets plucked by screeners looking for the required keywords.

Then stand out by giving a specific example of your motivation in action.

Creative? Show, don't tell 01/03/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 3:30am]
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