Ten Words Never, Ever To Use To Describe Yourself

It is tough to describe yourself in words, and that’s why so many people don’t even try.

They brand themselves exactly the same everybody else does: “Results-oriented professional with a bottom-line orientation!” That idiotic descriptor has nothing to do with you.

You are a vibrant, unique person. You are much more than a “result-oriented professional” or a “motivated self-starter!”

Any drone could call themselves a “self-starter.” Why would you want to use done-to-death cliches to describe yourself when the English language is so full of rich, evocative words?

The best way to get across a bit of your heft and personality is to tell your story.  You can do it in the Summary at the top of your resume or in the Summary of your LinkedIn profile, or both — like this:

I’ve been designing small-business websites for 15 years. These days I specialize in WordPress sites for speakers, authors and other creative types. My goal is to bring your unique voice and message across to everyone who wants to hear it.

Notice that our website designer doesn’t praise him- or herself. What person with normal self-esteem would ever praise themselves?

It doesn’t help you to sing your own praises, even though we’ve heard for years that we have to brag and boast in our branding.

It’s not true!

When you stoop to compliment yourself in your resume or your LinkedIn profile, you convey fear rather than confidence. The more confident you are, the less you need to rely on “praising adjectives” like savvy, strategic or ground-breaking in your branding.

Here are ten words never, ever to use when describing yourself:

1. Innovative

2. Disruptive

3. Visionary

4. Senior-level

5. Game-changing

6. Smart

7. Strategic

8. Savvy

9. Talented

10. Well-rounded

What do these ten “praising adjectives” have in common? They are all descriptors that are not yours to use — not when describing yourself, anyway! They are all things that we get to say about other people, but not about ourselves.

Innovation, intelligence and the other qualities we’ve been taught to brag about are all in the eye of the beholder.

The minute you say in your LinkedIn profile “I am smart” the rest of the world collectively says “I doubt it” because the smarter you are, the less you need to talk about it.

Your accomplishments speak for themselves!

Use your LinkedIn profile and your resume to tell your story — simply, humbly and in your own words. The smarter, savvier and more strategic your reader is, the more easily they will spot your brilliance and all your other amazing qualities.

If they can’t see your talents on their own, there is no way for you to help them — no matter how many “praising adjectives” you heap on the pile!

Take a stab at re-writing your LinkedIn profile and/or your resume, replacing jargon-y phrases (like “Skilled at leading cross-functional teams”) with human speech. Get rid of any “praising adjectives” currently stealing power from your profile.

You’ll feel lighter and stronger when you do!