Are buzzwords meaningless?

Here’s the list of the Top 10 buzz words used on Linked In in 2011.

  1. Creative
  2. Organisational
  3. Effective
  4. Extensive Experience
  5. Track Record
  6. Motivated
  7. Innovative
  8. Problem solving
  9. Communication skills
  10. Dynamic

People have a need to be wanted and admired, and to match their qualities (real or imagined) with those of the zeitgeist.

As a snapshot, the buzz words provide a good indication of the qualities we think are most valued in the workplace. We want others to see us as the archetype of the valuable modern employee.

We might write these words about ourselves, but do they mean anything when they have been written by others? The words may not describe actual personal qualities so much as an understanding of what employers and others are looking for.

But perhaps what employers and others are looking for is someone who will stand out from the crowd?

How does an employer react to these buzz words on a CV or resume? Do they actually mean anything at all?

I have my own likes and dislikes in the list.

Personally, whenever I see the word ‘dynamic’ in a job ad I tend to get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach and move on. Dynamic conjures up an image of Tigger – people like that exhaust me and I don’t consider ‘dynamic’ as one of my qualities. Would employers want me if I said I was ‘thoughtful’ and ‘reflective’?

Motivated. Motivated by what and to do what? Often, I guess, the word is short-hand for ‘my career is the most important thing in my life and I’ll do whatever it takes to be a success on my own terms.’ ‘Selfish’ could be another word for it.

Most of us want to fit in to whatever social milieu we aspire to. We are social animals after all and are hard-wired to want to belong. If your Linked In profile contains more than half of the buzz words that is the signal you are sending out. The maverick is dead. Long live the maverick.

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