Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Are You Choosing The Words That Will Get You Noticed?

Choosing the right words is essential to telling a good story. The right combination has the power to influence. If we do it correctly, words afford us the ability to create exactly the visual we want the receiver to have in their minds. 

In 7 Reasons You Need A Vibrant Digital Profile, I told you why it was important to make yours robust. So it stands to reason that the words you use to describe yourself be selected carefully. 

You might be considering a word like "creative". You assume this makes you unique. That it puts you on the short list of potentials for whatever the searcher was looking for. Who doesn't want a truly "creative" individual on their team? How many really possess such an attribute? This word, you are certain, will make your profile shine a bit brighter.

But alas, you would be sadly mistaken. You see "creative" qualifies as an overused buzzword. As do other seemingly sought after attributes like "effective" and "motivated." That is according to LinkedIn's just released 2012 List of Overused Profile Buzzwords.

Every word on this list is a good attribute. They're the kinds of qualities that a prospective employer or business connection would want you to possess. They're also the obvious choices.

And in the wild and crowded planet on which we live, one in which it is increasingly hard to be found, whether you are a person or a brand, obvious will not get you noticed.

So if everyone is using the same words, and they are all reasonably good words, how do you distinguish yourself? Do you simply check the Thesaurus and look for replacements?

Nicole Williams, LinkedIn's career expert suggests that you "Show, Don't Tell."

I'm all for that. Writers live by this maxim.  If they don't you won't keep reading. 

So do revenue producers. Anyone who has ever sat in a sales meeting has heard their managers reiterate, time and time again, that they don't want to be told you are going to get the deal.  They want to see the signed contract.

Apply that premise to your profile by not simply stating that you are "a problem solver" and "innovative" but by backing it up with authentic and hopefully interesting examples. As Nicole suggests you can use the Links feature and direct the reader to a website or article that substantiates your claim. 

I think another good place to do this in your Summary section. Instead of just listing off these tired old, overused buzzwords, tell your story in full sentences, including illustrative examples of your tangible accomplishments. The whole point is to make your profile more interesting and make you jump off the page as a real, breathing, vibrant human that the reader will be pulled to call in for a meeting.

In the words of The Bee Gees, it may sound like "it's only words." You may be thinking it doesn't really matter if you include timeworn ones  in your online profile. You may convince yourself that no one really cares.

But they do. In this very competitive and noisy online world we live in, words are often all we have to "take your heart away." 

Or to make your digital profile to stand out from the crowd. 

Click here if you missed my post on ForbesWoman last week, 7 Reasons You Need A Vibrant Digital Profile 

Click here if you'd like to sign up for a  Digital Profile Makeover.

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