This week, social media giant LinkedIn announced it surveyed 259 million resume profiles worldwide and presented the 10 most used buzzwords of 2013.

There’s nothing like an announcement like that to send would-be career advancers running for the nearest thesaurus. Here is their list:

  1. Responsible
  2. Strategic
  3. Creative     
  4. Effective
  5. Patient     
  6. Expert
  7. Organizational     
  8. Driven
  9. Innovative
  10. Analytical     

LinkedIn advises to not use these buzzwords as they are generally inappropriate and weak. It’s hard to say that one is creative when one offers up nothing to prove it. It’s like saying you have a great sense of humour without offering up a joke.

There is a place for a lot of these words, but they have to be used in a way that shows that you have that quality. Since “responsibility” is the most popular, it you can demonstrate it through a discussion of leadership, where the skipper has actual legal responsibility for his/her ship, her cargo, and her crew and passengers. Responsibility and the act of assuming responsibility means something. If something bad happens you’re fired, sued or both. To list “Responsibilities included:” A, B and C is meaningless. Just say A,B and C after each position.

Strategic conjures up an image of someone plotting out an ad campaign in the mind of the job seeker, but possibly not the reader. Be sure to show how you’ve been strategic, or creative or expert.

Use the word innovative only if you have done something innovative or unique in response to a problem or a loss of profit. If you can make any sense at all out of those organizational charts that have rectangles and circles with a mired of lines joining them together, you can get away with saying you are organizational or analytical, but you need to have published something on it so the resume reader can view, first hand , the particular type of non-metric multi-dimensional scaling techniques you used to deduce your wild guesses.

You can say you’re effective  or driven if you can demonstrate the results of your effectiveness or driving passion in a positive change in the bottom line.

But there are two legitimate reasons for using buzzwords. First, there is the posting. Generally the same buzzwords that you find  on the postings should be mentioned on the resume. If the posting says that it wants a responsible individual, and the word responsible is not on the resume, the employer might think you’re irresponsible.

The second reason for buzzwords concern the computer itself. Many HR teams rely on the computer to analyse all the words on your resume. It looks for associations between the words you choose and the words they want to see. In other words, the computer is the first reader of the resume, and an actual human reader may actually never read it.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.




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