Have you noticed?

Overused phrases long considered run-of-the-mill on resumes (such as “self-motivated team player”) are making their way into LinkedIn Profiles – and the outcome isn’t good.

These mundane phrases only make it more difficult for employers to find your unique value proposition. With a little ingenuity, however, you can pull the lackluster phrases out of your Profile and replace them with powerful writing attuned to your personal leadership.

Here are some of the worst offenders lurking among LinkedIn Profiles, along with suggestions for alternative wording:

 

1 – Accomplished professional.

Most leaders have a roster of achievements, so this won’t help you stand out. Your LinkedIn identity will have a better chance to shine among competitors when it contains data-driven evidence of your success stories.

No matter if you’ve put this phrase into your LinkedIn Headline or About section, it’s simple to replace with a phrase that speaks to your capabilities, as in these examples:

  • Chief Revenue Officer taking XYZ Company to #1 Market Share
  • $30M in New Outsourcing Deals in High-Profile APAC Region
  • IT Executive. DevOps and Digital Transformation Improvements in Financial Services, Manufacturing, & CPG for 58% Faster Releases 

Be sure to focus on what you want employers to notice, such as your team-building, revenue growth, or operational efficiency benchmarks.

    2 – Results-driven.

    Most companies plan on hiring someone who fits this description, and they weed out anyone who doesn’t perform to their expectations. It’s almost to your detriment to point this out in your Profile. (It’s also a bad idea to point out when you’re unemployed, as you can see here.)

    You might try adding information that actually PROVES your drive for results, (Promoted in 6 months to EVP or Outpaced peer regions 31% by driving fastest turnaround in company history).

    SVP business development resume example by Laura Smith-ProulxIf your resume achievements summary looks like this, you’ll automatically have key metrics to substantiate your claims.

    Be sure to summarize figures into short bullets (such as ~300% revenue growth in single year, consistently outperforming publishers, B2C, and wholesale markets) when leveraging resume content on LinkedIn.

     

    3 – Exceptional communicator.

    The trouble with this phrase is that it’s not only tough to prove, but that the person using it often misspells one or more words (really).

    Since your LinkedIn Profile gives you plenty of opportunity to demonstrate your writing skills, you’ll have the opportunity to convey complex concepts or perhaps distill a major project into a short description… both of which would speak louder about your communications skills than this phrase ever will.

    Specific wins (Developed first training system tied to 34% stronger customer satisfaction) will also help outline your communications abilities.

     

    4 – Proven success.

    Well, employers would hope so. After all, why mention your success unless you have some proof to back it up?

    Here’s where you’re better off noting some metrics, as in:

    • Exceeded quota for 7 out of past 8 years
    • Brought company to 87% market share from bottom-tier performance
    • Met 100% of project budget constraints, despite limited resources

    These achievements can help online readers understand the scope of your work and the reasons behind your career progression. See 7 Must-Know LinkedIn Tips for Executives for more pointers.

     

    5 – Experienced.

    Of COURSE you are.

    Even worse, successful experience is so redundant you’re wasting space and LinkedIn keyword optimization by even thinking of these phrases.

    One way to replace this word is to simply specify the scope of your work (Directed 76 remote team members in Europe, Americas, and Brazil). You can also draw attention to your career progression (Promoted 6 times in 8 years as Global Head of Technology Operations).

    Be careful if you’re mentioning your long industry tenure:  16 years of experience in sales doesn’t quite have the same ring as Generated 27% average over-quota revenue throughout progressively challenging sales roles.

    6 – Responsible for.

    Just like a resume, there is no reason to clutter the landscape of your Profile with a phrase that is largely assumed.

    Rather than use this phrase, you can just skip to the relevant facts (Managed $14.2M budget, Oversaw 14-state Eastern Region, Supervised 52-member team).

     

    7 – Team Player.

    You can be the most collaborative, transparent leader committed to team success – and STILL not benefit from using this overused phrase. All employees, from the C-suite down to the mailroom, are expected to be team players!

    Instead, describe how your team-focused leadership style has benefited companies (Raised employee engagement to 97% within 5 months by employing servant leadership approach and mitigating 80% of concerns raised at town hall meetings).

    To sum up, it’s time to take a long look at your LinkedIn Profile to see if you’re committing the SAME mistakes that have been appearing on resumes for YEARS.

    If so, refresh your approach! Provide specific details on your career successes and personal brand value to the hiring audience.