Irish professionals were feeling less ‘successful’ last year despite describing themselves as more ‘experienced’, according to new data. LinkedIn analysed the most popular words among its Irish member profiles. The analysis revealed that the word ‘successful’ had dropped out of the top 10, while the term ‘experienced’ topped the list.

To help understand the change in language, and other findings in the data, LinkedIn partnered with socio-linguistic expert Professor Rodney Jones from the University of Reading to explain what this means for the modern-day job seeker. Professor Jones’ analysis revealed that the terms used by Irish professionals reflect a global trend in how the public responds to the fake news trend and economic uncertainty.

LinkedIn’s top 10 Buzzwords among its Irish members’ profiles for the past year are:

  • Experienced
  • Specialise
  • Skilled
  • Motivated
  • Leadership
  • Excellent
  • Passionate
  • Focused
  • Driven
  • Expert

Commenting on the results, Professor Jones explained what this means for the modern-day Irish jobseeker:

– ‘Expert’ re-enters the top 10, while ‘specialised’ was in second place in 2017, as professionals look to verify their expertise. “This type of language can be viewed as a wider comment on how society is searching for accountability and verifiability; in part a reaction to the increasing focus on fake news surrounding the 2016 US presidential election and the Brexit referendum. Where once there was a focus on branding one’s own authenticity, economic uncertainty means authenticity is no longer important, it’s about verifiability.”

– LinkedIn’s data shows a movement away from highlighting personal strengths such as ‘successful’ and ‘driven’; towards skills and abilities that can be more specifically categorised. Professor Jones comments: “This narrowing down from generic terms to far more specific words such as ‘skilled’ and ‘experienced’ reflects a change in job roles that are becoming more specialised. Roles in the banking and pharma sector, for example, are under increasing scrutiny and as a result, require more verifiable skills and attributes.”

– The Buzzwords data also reveals an increased use of ‘leadership’ in recent years, maintaining a presence in the top five Irish Buzzwords. Professor Jones explains: “Companies are becoming less hierarchical – even junior members are expected to demonstrate leadership. In contrast, ‘organised’ fell out of the top 10 after 2015 as professionals search to demonstrate management capabilities over more functional attributes.”

Darain Faraz, LinkedIn’s Careers Expert, said: “For many, a job is no longer for life. We continually look to move on, evolve and strive for new and better opportunities. This results in a language of optimisation; people ‘skill up’ and highlight this on their profiles. With recruiters using keywords to identify the perfect candidates, we’re encouraging members to ensure they’re using the right words to land their dream job. There has never been a better time to ensure the words you choose are selling you as powerfully as they would do in an interview.”

To help members improve their profiles and stand out to recruiters, LinkedIn has the following advice:

Take pride in your online appearance. Help your ideal employer find you by ensuring your LinkedIn profile is complete and sells you in the best possible way, starting with the language you use. If you consider yourself a ‘specialist’, why not show this by tailoring your profile accordingly? List relevant skills which have been built up through your work experience.

Show character. While the words you choose say a lot about you, it’s also important to strike a professional tone; be assertive and direct when talking about your achievements. Don’t shy away from adding some personality to your language though – this is a great way to show your character.

Words don’t need to do all the talking. Instead of saying you’re ‘creative’, why not show recruiters by including presentations, video, design work and projects you take pride in? Remember, in a sea of potential candidates you want to stand out from the crowd; you’ve only got five to 10 seconds to impress a potential employer.

Be active. It’s not just about what’s on your profile – proactivity is key when it comes to networking. Follow organisations that inspire you or that you’d love to work for, make new connections, join groups and participate in discussions. This keeps your profile active and shows recruiters that you’re plugged into what’s happening in your industry.

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