LinkedIn.com, the online network designed for professionals and job hunters, recently listed the most-used phrases found in users' profiles.
They were: extensive experience, innovative, motivated, results-oriented, dynamic, proven track record, team player, fast-paced, problem solver and entrepreneurial.
Those look like pretty good credentials, right?
Maybe not, LinkedIn's career experts say. They see two big problems:
• Everyone is using them, which reduces them to the category of overused buzzwords.
• They don't convey actual information.
Such phrases "can appear empty to a potential employer and may do more harm than good when you include them in your profile or resume," said Lindsey Pollak, a career adviser.
She suggests using concrete information, such as "10 years of experience" or "increased sales by 300 percent."
This can be good advice, but it can also send job hunters into a panic.
What if you don't have a sales job that allows you to post sales numbers? What if you're trying to fight age discrimination by not revealing your exact tenure?
The best answer for most workers is to walk a middle line, using a combination of general descriptions and specifics.
This is also a good reminder to change your resume to appear to be a perfect fit for each application.
If you're responding to a posting that seeks a team player, by all means include that in your resume. A preliminary resume scanner may be searching for those words. But try to buttress the phrase with a specific, succinct example.
User profiles posted on LinkedIn are likely to be more static — not changed every time a different job is pursued. That might be why there are so many "empty" phrases.
But remember, even those often-used "empty" phrases are all credentials that employers prize.
Don't be afraid of using them. Just put some meat on their bones.