We all want to stand out. With more than 100 people on average applying to every job listing out there, it can be hard to make your on-par job skills and drive translate into much more than “I’m the ideal candidate. No, seriously. I’m perfect for this.” The problem might be that you’re trying too hard to have the perfect profile. In fact, it’s so perfect, everyone’s saying the exact same thing.
The problem with the concept of an “ideal” profile is that it sets a standard, and then a few blog posts later, everyone is using similar tips and tricks to adhere to that exact standard. In the end, we’re all using the same action words, formats, and references to the point that LinkedIn looks more like the clone army in Star Wars than a bank of unique, qualified candidates.
Show, Don’t Tell
The first thing you should get rid of? Buzzwords. According to Fast Company, the top 10 most used words and phrases in LinkedIn profiles, in order, are as follows:
Cringing at the familiarity? While you are probably one or more of those things, they have become nearly meaningless modifiers that anyone with half a profile will use to describe themselves. If you want to communicate the fact that you’re motivated, passionate and creative, it’s actually counterproductive to do that by listing those words about yourself in a generic paragraph at the start of your profile.
Instead, show that motivated, passionate creativity by going the extra mile on your profile. Create a slideshow of your work, make a short explainer video, or hire Big Man Tyrone on Fiverr to do a testimonial for you. If you’re doing something that’s a default option on your profile, it’s likely that you’re not the first person to do it.
Keep The Spark Alive
At almost every turn in your profile, you should dare to be different. From your job description, to the way that your present your experience. The biggest factor in you standing out, however, isn’t that you overload your profile with creative gimmicks: it’s that you stay fresh.
As much as people don’t want to see the same old generic profile, they’ll immediately click away if the last update you made was when you landed that job two years ago. Take the time once a month to update your profile, and read up on what qualities are valued the most.
Tell Us What You Think
Any tips for standing out? Anything you see on LinkedIn that’s totally overdone? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Twitter!
Peter Swanson is a writer with a passion for empowering others to be self-starters. Navigating the world of start-ups, freelancers, and entrepreneurs, Peter is bent on clear communication, working with integrity, and spreading a "get it done" attitude. He obtained his Bachelor's in English from Biola University.