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Employment Advice Column: Words not to use in social media!

Dear Joanna,

I’m preparing my Linkedin profile. As in the resume, I’ve been warned not to use the word “I” in the summary part by the employment counsellors yet I have read opposing information online. Is this correct? Also, please can you recommend those language, words and/or phrases that I should not use in my profile?

Signed: Worst Words

Dear WW

Liz Ryan’s column from presents four of the worst things to say in your Linkedin profile:

  1. Stay away from fluffy soft skills language. Ryan argues that Linkedin is so huge that most social media users, recruiters or hiring managers, don’t have time to read your whole profile. For example, don’t use this: Motivated business leader with skills in multiple disciplines…Experienced professional….
  2. Don’t be a generalist or a “Jack / Jill of all trades”. Again, be specific and detailed. Professionally brand your skills, experience and qualifications in a clear and concise way so that the reader understands your expertise and value quickly. You cannot do everything well. As in your resume and with professional networking, when you say you’re a Jack or Jill of all trades, no one really believes that you can do everything well. In your profile, tell us what you want to do next. This is a “desperate message that doesn’t give anyone confidence. It’s up to you to decide what kinds of jobs you want and to brand yourself for those opportunities.
  3. I’m an expert/guru/virtuoso/wizard/smart/. Confident people don’t praise themselves. Fearful people use praising adjectives — savvy, strategic, insightful, and perceptive. As you learn and grow (professionally/personally), you won’t feel any need to tell strangers what you think of yourself. Therefore, I would not use “I” in your profile (or in your resume!). You’ll simply tell your human story in your LinkedIn profile and let other people react to it however they like.
  4. I’m open to all job opportunities. No one is open to everything. When you are job hunting, don’t say “I’ll take anything”. Zero in on certain jobs and certain organizations. Focus like a laser, the way good salespeople focus on their most important prospects. Every job-seeker is a salesperson. It’s not a recruiter’s or hiring manager’s job to decide what you’re supposed to do next in your career. It’s your job!


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Joanna-Elizabeth-SamuelsJoanna Samuels, M.Ed., CMF, CTDP, RRP, is a certified Life Skills Coach, and certified Personality Dimensions Facilitator who is a job coach/job developer at Jewish Vocational Services (JVS Toronto), and part-time instructor at George Brown College.

About Joanna Samuels 6 Articles
Joanna Samuels, M.Ed., CMF, RRP is a certified Life Skills Coach, and certified Personality Dimensions Facilitator. With over 11 years’ of experience working as a job coach/job developer and facilitator at JVS Toronto, Joanna’s expertise is providing customized employment and career coaching as well as job placement and training services to individuals and groups from diverse communities, industries and professions. In addition, Joanna helps employers with recruitment, and selection, as well as meeting their diversity and inclusion needs. Joanna is a featured employment advice columnist, published author and blogger as well as a part time instructor of employment counselling at George Brown College, Joanna is a frequent guest speaker at different community events and webinars on topics related to employment and careers.

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