Are you a specialist? Linkedin users’ top 10 buzzwords

Passion, excellence and enthusiasm enter the lexicon while motivation bows out

“Specialist” is top among buzzwords employed by Irish Linkedin users. Photograph: iStock

“Specialist” is top among buzzwords employed by Irish Linkedin users. Photograph: iStock


If ever proof was required that specialised skills are the most valued commodity in the careers market, then it appears Linkedin have the evidence.

In a new survey of the top 10 buzzwords on the business and professions site, “specialised” is the standout term among those in the Irish networking world.

If you’re not so much specialised, then having good “leadership” qualities may buy you almost as much credit – the second most used term falling just above the unsurprising “experience” in third and the slightly more subjective “excellence” in fourth.

“Passionate”, if somewhat difficult to measure, comes in fifth among the adjectives most favoured among thousands of Irish Linkedin users.

Now in its sixth year, the buzzword barometer is drawn from an analysis of millions of global profiles over the past 12 months.

Career path

The list is revealed during what is historically the busiest week in January for profile updates as people think about their career path for the year ahead.

“Specialised” is making its top 10 debut after more than 30,000 Irish LinkedIn members in Ireland used the term on their profile.

Last year’s top buzzword “motivated” inexplicably fell from favour, dropping to 15th place.

Linikedin interpret a number of new entries to this year’s list – experienced, excellent, hard-working and focused – as symptoms of a renewed confidence in ability among Irish professionals.

However catchy they may be though, Wendy Murphy, senior HR director at LinkedIn warns: “These popular buzzwords do little to communicate why we’re good at our jobs, so we would urge everyone to assess their profiles to make sure they’re presenting their best selves.

“Repetitive corporate jargon will turn off potential new employers,” she says, adding that sharing samples of work on the site can have a far better impact.

Best selling biographer Christopher Sandford goes further, saying: “The language we use says a lot about us, so it’s important to choose your words carefully, especially in a professional context.

“Too often we hide behind buzzwords which don’t mean anything, whether out of a desire to keep things simple, or because we don’t feel confident talking about our work accomplishments.”

Avoiding the clichés, Mr Sandford advises users to “start with something punchy”, possibly leading with a short sentence, but always keeping your reader or customer in mind.

He recommends taking a professional tone and being assertive and direct when describing achievements; list relevant previous roles, and employ everyday language.

But for those who can’t resist the bite of a buzzword, words ranked six to 10 in order were: focused, hard working, strategic, enthusiastic and creative.