Fascinating

Fascinating? Or Major Fail?

Adventures in FascinationHas Your LinkedIn Profile Lost Its Luster?

In January 2015, Catherine Fisher wrote a blog post for LI apprising us of the 10 most overused, overwhelming buzzwords on a LinkedIn profile, especially as it relates to your headline and your summary. Here they are:

  • Motivation
  • Passionate
  • Creative
  • Driven
  • Extensive
  • Experience
  • Responsible
  • Strategic
  • Track
  • Record
  • Organizational
  • Expert

LinkedIn recorded its rolls at over 364 million members in the first quarter of 2015. Certainly, this is the number of people who have signed up. I wonder… how many people actually use LinkedIn as a professional connection network? How many are truly engaged in leveraging this power (I confess, until recently, I was not).

This, therefore, begs the question, what percentage of members read Catherine’s article and took action from the information? As of this writing, there have been 3,448 LinkedIn shares, 942 tweets on Twitter, 713 likes on Facebook and over 1,100 posts on Google Plus.

I know, I for one, will be more engaged with the entire LI platform. When I had first signed up, I used my free membership as just another social media venue… basically, a hodgepodge of everything I’ve done, and my emphasis was my connection with ministry friends and peers as a  Reformed Baptist pastor to a local church in Anniston, Alabama.

I realize now, in having to supplement my income as an independent freelancer and entrepreneur in order to minister to a small congregation, I need to leverage LI more strategically for work outside of the ministry. It’s just the way it is… yet, this is a very good thing.

When Words Lose Their Luster

As a copywriter, adjectives are generally a nuisance and I avoid them as much as possible. As a ghostwriter for fiction stories and novels, however, a well placed adjective can mean the difference between setting the appropriate mood and tone or leaving the scene as cold and desolate as Siple Station, Antarctica in the dead of winter (yup, I’ve been there, buckaroos).

Let’s take a look at these ten clichés and discover why they’re not only useless, they are actually counterproductive turn-offs, which do more subliminal damage to those viewing your profile than you may have considered at first glance.

MOTIVATION

Motivation should be a given. You’ve got a job to do. Do it. If you have to let me know you’re motivated, it makes me think you have other motives than doing the task you need to be doing. I’ve run into this as a Navy diving supervisor trying to get a job done while dealing with non-divers who were “motivated” to support us. Needless to say, there needed to be a persuasive boot in the backside to get this support.

PASSIONATE

PassionIf you’re not passionate about what you do, find something else to do with your life. If you’re doing what you love, you’ll love what you do and it will show in your work and accomplishments. In fact, if you love what you do, it’s not work… even when it hurts.

CREATIVE

If you have an occupation which is naturally creative, such as a fiction author, music composer, artist in oils and acrylics, interior designer, etc., you don’t have to tell us you’re creative. Your use of the word is straight from the archives of the Department of Redundancy Dept.

If you’re not in a creative occupation, using this word may also backfire on you. I’d get a little scared if someone in a service occupation, such as roofing or plumbing for example, lists “creative” in their summary. I really don’t want you to get creative with my shingles or my piping, heater or air conditioner. Yup,  ‘nuff said.

DRIVEN

When I read the word driven as it pertains to someone’s skill set, it makes me think of a drunken madman behind the wheel of a speeding car, honking wildly and heading straight for me… and at the last minute, stopping on dime. Unfortunately the dime happens to be in my pocket. Avoid this word like the plague.

EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE

Dare I type, LOL? I actually chuckled at this one. In exactly two weeks I will turn 55 years old. One might say I have extensive experience as a human being… but this doesn’t mean I’ve perfected living, humanity, existence or relationships. I’m still a work in progress as I assume you are as well.

Look, I knew a guy who touted himself a writer for 20 years; however, when he showed me a sample of his work, I realized you could list what he knew about grammar and syntax on the head of a pin with a crayon.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve done something. Are you any good at it? If you are, it will show in your achievements.

RESPONSIBLE

Being responsible may actually just tell us you’re to blame for some kerfuffle. The VA is supposedly responsible for administering “a variety of benefits and services that provide financial and other forms of assistance to Service members, Veterans, their dependents and survivors” (online source). The VA scandal uncovered in 2014 showed us who was responsible for bilking veterans in particular and the American people in general.

STRATEGIC

Strategy, as a noun, is still great for copy; however, strategic as an adjective for one’s profile is a waste of time. For copywriting, strategy as a noun is a trigger for the potential client or customer, indicating a tool they may be missing in their arsenal.

Strategic as an adjective defines what? Your thinking? Your decisions? Your methodology in completing a task? Well, I certainly hope so. You don’t do anything in business without being strategic. Hello…

TRACK RECORD

Everyone’s got a track record. Hopefully it’s a good one. In bush Alaska, as a missionary-pastor, I was thrust into the role of leading song worship as well as preaching. Just because I could play guitar, it didn’t mean I could sing. Of course, I got better over time; nevertheless, the track record I developed for my singing voice was consistent in the early years… I sounded like a coyote in a trash compactor.

Be specific in your accomplishments. Just strap on the wide belt and work shirt and tell it like it was.

ORGANIZATIONAL

If the word had a harmonious lilt to it, if it rolled from the tongue smoothly like warm butter on a hot roll, I’d say, by all means, leave it in. It simply doesn’t. To make matters worse, it is often coupled with a noun so general in its description it becomes a series of letters strung together like moldy clothespins on a weather-rotted line.

When I was the training supervisor at a third-party logistics company in the late 90s, one of the candidates I interviewed actually had this on the resume: organizational strategic management. I’m still not sure what it means.

EXPERT

I suppose this word isn’t higher up on the list because it’s been sooooo overused for years.

This one always brings a smile to my face because when I worked a job in technical services, I would sometimes get a question from a distributor or end user to cause me to scratch my head. I’d go to the engineers in R & D and ask them about it and this one fella I worked with in R & D was a master. He was an expert in every true sense of the word. Whenever I referred to him as the expert, however, he always reminded me what an expert really was: “a has-been drip under pressure.”

Be Unique

Having had fun with these words, it doesn’t provide a grand solution for our LI headline or summary. We still need to stand apart from the crowd and be heard with a sweet voice rising above the din.

For business, it is extremely important. In sales, it’s essential.

If we can’t define who we are, how can we relate to those with whom we must interact? If you don’t know yourself, how can you properly communicate with others you’re the solution to their ills and the answer to their problem (because this is what sales actually is). If you don’t know who you are, how are you going to get a potential client to know, like and trust you? You can’t. You won’t.

Many people can do what you can do; however, no one else can be who you are. And if you can’t see your true self clearly in order to capitalize on your known strengths, others will have difficulty with putting a finger on them as well.

One of the most powerful resources to help me was the information provided by internationally recognized copywriter and founder of HowToFascinate.com, Sally Hogshead.

Check out Sally’s short video…

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About The Spirited Speaker

Jon J. Cardwell is the “Spirited Speaker with Compelling Insights” who is sought for speaking engagements in ministry, marketing and mogo-on-the-g’go-go.

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