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LinkedIn reveals online resume cliches

By Michelle Hammond
Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Social network LinkedIn has revealed the 10 most popular phrases in resumes among the company’s 85 million profiles, providing some valuable insight for employers.


According to LinkedIn, the three most overused terms are “extensive experience”, “innovative” and “motivated”, followed by “results oriented”, “dynamic” and “proven track record”.


Rounding out the list are “team player”, “fast paced”, “problem solver” and “entrepreneurial”.


LinkedIn chief data scientist DJ Patil says the company released the findings in order to “reveal insights that help professionals make better choices about how to position themselves online, whether they are reaching out to new clients or networking with peers.”


According to Kye Macdonald, co-founder and director of Skye Recruitment, employers should disregard these terms as “buzz words”.


“A lot of those words are very generic and don’t have a lot of meaning behind them. They can also be quite contradictory. For example, if you promote yourself as entrepreneurial, why are you applying for a job?”


Macdonald says employers looking to recruit need to be able to determine a candidate’s experience and background based on their resume.


This information should be outlined at the beginning in a cohesive format such as dot points, followed by more “intangible” information including work-related traits.


“Also, have a clear definition as to what it is you’re looking for. You’d be surprised how often companies, particularly small businesses, are too broad in their job description,” he says.


Macdonald says the recruitment process can be a scary time for start-ups.


“You’re terrified you’ll get it wrong or overlook someone who could have been the golden star for the business,” he says.


“You might find yourself making excuses for people because you want them to be the right person. Especially in the early days, a lot of start-up businesses have an inferiority complex and doubt why someone would want to work for them.”


Macdonald’s top tips when sorting through resumes include:

  • Remembering that CVs are a sales document. “They’re an advert – that’s the biggest thing to remember. They’re not a true reflection of a person’s experience, background or work ethic,” he says.
  • Knowing your industry. Keep an eye on the state of your sector and any changes or developments that may affect job availability. For example, if you’re operating in a sector experiencing a skills shortage, think twice about hiring someone who hasn’t been able to secure work.
  • Being wary of people who change jobs often. “If they’ve been in a particular role for less than two years, you have to ask questions,” he says.

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