Calling yourself “creative” is getting less and less creative.
LinkedIn has released its list of the most overused buzzwords on LinkedIn Profiles, and for the second year in a row, “creative” tops the list.
Come on, people, be innovative. Use something more effective.
Uh, “innovative” and “effective” are also on the list. (Read More: The Killer Resume: How to Get Hired by the Machines.)
Here are the ten words popping up most often in profiles of U.S. professionals:
1. Creative (translation: I breathe)
2. Organizational (What? Are you “organized” or “organizational?”)
3. Effective (zzzz)
4. Motivated (yawn)
5. Extensive experience (blah blah blah)
6. Track record
10. Problem solving (This one has got to go … it makes my eyes glaze over)
New words on the list this year are “responsible” and “analytical”, replacing “communication skills” and “dynamic” from last year. I’d much rather hire someone who’s responsible and analytical than dynamic, and do you really have to tell someone you have communication skills? Can’t they tell by the way you communicate?
As for our obsession with being creative, Nicole Williams at LinkedIn said you can’t just call yourself creative if you want to stand out. You need to link to projects you’ve worked on “that truly were different, unique and compelling.” (Read More: Seven Things You’re Doing Wrong on LinkedIn.)
Americans aren’t the only ones fixated on the word.
“Creative” is also the most overused LinkedIn term in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Singapore, Sweden, and the Netherlands. I’m trying to think of an example of Swedish creativity beyond Volvo, or anything at all from New Zealand beyond Peter Jackson, sheep, “Flight of the Conchords” and “Xena: Warrior Princess”. Actually, New Zealand kinda rocks when you look at that list.
Meantime, “motivated” is the most overused adjective on LinkedIn profiles from Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and the U.K. That’s a motley crew.
Egyptians and Indonesians most often refer to themselves as “multinational”, the Swiss are “analytical”, and those from Spain are “specialized.”
The most eyebrow-raising word comes from Italy, slowly working its way out of a harrowing recession. The favorite term Italians use on LinkedIn? “Responsible.”
But by far the most interesting response is from Brazil, where the overused buzzword used by professionals is “experimental.” Which is a lot more creative than “creative”.