SINGAPORE (Feb 1): "Passionate" took the top spot among Singapore-based LinkedIn profiles as the most overused buzzword of 2016. This year, it has been replaced by the word "leadership".

The professional network compiles a list of most-used buzzwords drawn from analysing over a million profiles in Singapore each year on January, which is historically the most popular month for LinkedIn profile updates worldwide.

According to Roger Pua, LinkedIn’s senior director, corporate communications, Asia Pacific, the fact that everyone is using the same buzzwords means they may not be effective in bringing jobseekers to life as professionals.

It is also in the opinion of Christopher Sandford – a bestselling author with over 25 years of experience as a biographer under his belt – that LinkedIn profile members too often “hide behind buzzwords which don’t mean anything”.

He believes the reason for this could stem a desire to keep things simple, or be due to a lack of confidence while talking about one’s personal work accomplishments.

“The language we use says a lot about us so it’s important to choose your words carefully, especially in a professional context… With some relatively simple changes you can start to use language which truly conveys what makes you great,” Sandford adds.

For those looking to improve their LinkedIn profiles and hence increase their chances on the online job market, he recommends the following:

Feature a punchy profile introduction
This can be accomplished by using specific phrases, storytelling, or even the clever use of punctuation. “Don’t be afraid to lead with a short sentence, such as ‘Music is my first love.’ Above all, you should always keep your reader, or customer, firmly in mind,” says Sandford.  

Be assertive and direct
Instead of speaking in third person about ourselves, which Sandford emphasises is “impersonal and won’t draw the reader in”, the biographer advocates adopting a professional tone when talking about our achievements. At the same time, he encourages jobseekers to “[add] some personality” to their language in order to show character.

Have a complete online profile
All relevant previous roles should be listed and described in everyday language, says Sandford, as he believes a complete LinkedIn profile reflects a well-rounded person while also helping people understand the breadth of what he calls one’s “work story”.

Use real examples of your work
In Sandford’s words, “while language is important, so is showing real examples of your work.”  Be it an image from the launch of a campaign or a blog, having actual presentations, projects or completed work to show will help a jobseeker to paint the picture of his/her skills and background.

“A strong, personal online brand is key to opening doors to opportunity as you look to start something new in the New Year, whether it’s a job or volunteering time to make a social impact. So, it’s important to stand out from the crowd, while not under or over-selling yourself,” comments LinkedIn’s Pua.

In the professional network’s top 10 Singapore buzzwords for 2017, "leadership" is followed by, in descending order, the words: "specialised", "strategic", "passionate", "experienced", "expert", "focused", "certified", "responsible" and "excellent".