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BusinessColumnistsJamie Herzlich

Small Business: Getting noticed on LinkedIn

For ideas, look at the profiles of others

For ideas, look at the profiles of others in your field and see how they’re describing themselves. (Jan. 27, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

Looking to get noticed on LinkedIn?

Then avoid regurgitating such words as responsible, strategic and creative throughout your profile. They top LinkedIn's list of the most overused profile buzzwords of 2013.

"When a word becomes overused, it loses its efficacy and meaning," explains Nicole Williams, LinkedIn's career expert. "If you keep using the same words as everyone else, it's really hard to stand out from the crowd."

Other overused words included effective, expert and patient. For a complete list, see

Give examples of success: Rather than riddling your profile with these words, consider showcasing these attributes instead by highlighting examples of your successes.

Link your skills to a specific result that demonstrates your competence, suggests Williams. For instance, you might upload an example of your work to your profile (e.g. a video or presentation) to give others a better representation of your talent.

The best-written profile summaries "are conversational and tell people the most important things about you," says Lori Ruff, CEO of Minneapolis-based Integrated Alliances, a social media consulting firm, and co-author of "Rock the World with Your Online Presence" (Morgan James; $19.95). They serve as an introduction and anticipate questions your profile visitors may ask, says Ruff.

"You want someone to read your profile and say 'This is exactly who I need,' " she notes.

Check other's profiles: For ideas, look at the profiles of others in your field and see how they're describing themselves, Ruff suggests. You may pick up a good word or phrase.

Make sure your profile comes off as "first-person conversational, not third-person marketing brochure," she says.

Too many profiles are buried in corporate-speak that nobody understands, says Bill Corbett Jr., president of Corbett Public Relations in Floral Park.

While you don't have to completely eliminate every word on LinkedIn's list, be cognizant of these overused words and look for alternatives.

"Really it's the overall message someone gets from your profile," says Corbett, who holds LinkedIn workshops. "It isn't the buzzword that makes or breaks your profile."

Keep keywords: There's a difference between descriptive keywords and buzzwords, he says. For example, keywords in his profile might be public relations, marketing and consulting. You don't want to eliminate these keywords, because they describe what you do and may help people searching for your skill set, explains Corbett.

But you can avoid saying you're "an innovative public relations strategist," he says.

Also consider words' opposite meanings, adds Williams. For example, the antonym of "responsible" is "irresponsible," making "responsible" one of those descriptors that's a given, she says.

Focus on benefits, not features, says Christopher Ulrich, president of Direct Response Group, a Melville-based Internet marketing strategy firm, whose services include advising clients on their LinkedIn profiles.

"Talk about what you've accomplished and tell stories about the success you've achieved," he says.

Let people know what types of clients you've helped, he adds. For instance, if you work with restaurants or Fortune 1000 firms, let people know that. And let others tell your story when possible, he suggests. "Testimonials are fantastic, and video testimonials are even better."

Ask for recommendations: When you achieve success for clients and they're happy with the results, ask for recommendations, says Ulrich.

"A lot of times people want to write a recommendation but they're too busy," adds Williams. Try offering them bullet points or highlights they can include, to expedite the process.

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