Too Many Members are ‘Responsible’ on LinkedIn

LinkedIn Targeted Updates, Follower Statistics

LinkedIn has published the most overused words by members in 2013, in its fourth annual survey. Topping the list is ‘responsible.’ Luckily I had deleted that overused word from my profile last year, when the word only ranked #8 in the U.S.

According to LinkedIn, ‘responsible’ was used more than twice as often as the number two buzzword, ‘strategic.’ Only four of the top buzzwords from 2012 made the list in 2013: ‘creative’, ‘responsible’, ‘effective’, ‘analytical’. Words from the previous year that that didn’t make the cut this year are: ‘experimental’, ‘motivated’, ‘multinational’, ‘specialized’.

Maybe people are just too tired from working 24/7 to be motivated much anymore and don’t have the time to be experimental.

As usual, LinkedIn didn’t provide any definitions, which could prove helpful in finding substitutes for your profile. So here are mine and please feel free to use them. Drum roll:

  1. Responsible – No one else wanted to do it
  2. Strategic – when I see a fork in the road I take it
  3. Creative — I got a gold star for a drawing I did in kindergarten
  4. Effective — I get things done in due time
  5. Patient – I have plenty of to wait while I’m texting friends
  6. Expert – The last time I looked I got a pretty good performance review
  7. Organizational – I work for a good company
  8. Driven – I don’t want to lose my job
  9. Innovative — I tried something new once and it worked
  10. Analytical – Given time I can eventually figure it out

OK, you’ve guessed that I just wanted to have a little fun. Seriously, have you looked at your profile and resume lately? Companies can only hire so many responsible, strategic and creative people. To strengthen your brand and turn up in searches on LinkedIn, you’ll need to find other words that help distinguish you from your competition.

This year, for the first time, LinkedIn summarized its findings in an infographic. Enjoy.

LinkedIn’s most overused words

Leave a Reply


  1. I have not changed anything on my profile for so-o-o long, I am embarrassed 🙂

    I just checked – I use “responsible” twice on my profile, but none of those times is to describe me as responsible per se – but in the phrase “I was responsible for…” – describing my duties as part of a position I have listed on my LI. maybe that is why it is such a buzz word?

    Thanks for the reminder, Jeannette – maybe one of these days I will ramp up my profile finally!

    • Diana — LinkedIn suggests that instead of saying “I was responsible for,” try to be specific about what you accomplished in the position, i.e., “managed a business unit that increased profits by 10-fold in one year.”

  2. I looked at my profile and I am happy to say I haven’t used the word responsible. I really like your suggestion for Innovative. “I tried something new once and it worked”. I think it is time to go back and rewrite my profile. It doesn’t hurt to update

    • Arleen — good for you, no “responsible.” Never hurts to update your profile. I tinker with mine all the time trying to get it right and keep it up to date.

  3. Ok, guilty as charged. I know that I have a few (maybe a bunch… LOL) of those words in my profile. I’ll need to take a look and consider making some changes. Sigh! So much to do and so little time. 🙂

    I love your tongue in cheek approach to these words. It certainly points out how they may be perceived by a reader. 🙂

    • Susan — I know it’s easy to fall back on the easy words that are right at our fingertips. I thought I’d have a little fun with the list. All work and no play — and all that!

  4. Jeannette,
    I have not looked at my LinkedIn profile yet but I’m pretty sure that I’m using the word strategic in it. Well, not only on my LI profile but elsewhere too. I really need to get over there and update it. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Dan — I don’t think its so bad not to use the most used words. I think eyes glaze over when people say they are strategic or innovative. What do those words mean? Another word that bugs me is “quality.” Quality as defined how?

  6. Have never used the word responsible on my Linkedin profile. Actually am a responsible person but never thought it was something I wanted to stress. Use the words strategic, innovative and creative though for the simple reason that I am:-)

    Am delighted to note that leader and leadership are no longer top buzz words on Linkedin. It was actually ludicrous when the majority of Linkedin members considered themselves leaders. Only a fraction of them are. Removed that word from my profile in the past .

    But I’m not going to remove the words creative, strategic and innovative because they do apply to me. Am aware that an abundance of people world-wide consider themselves creative because they have learnt to use Photoshop. But their abuse of the word should not stop the rest of us who have gone beyond Photoshop:-)

    • Catarina — When we draft our LinkedIn profiles, regardless of what other people say in their profiles, we have to be true to ourselves and use the words that apply to our skills and experience. Maybe the words are overused because that’s how people view themselves. So I say go for it!

  7. As other have said i haven’t looked at my profile for a long time. I use strategy, simply because I do it, but it such an overused word. The one surprise in the infographic is the word passionate in top 10 for Australia and New Zealand as it doesn’t fit the way Aussies and Kiwis usually talk. We are more laid back.

    • Susan — I’ve heard Aussies and Kiwis are laid back. Why is that do you think? Judging by the number of successful Aussies entertainers with lead roles on American TV and in our movies, I’d say our experience, at least with those folks, is that they have a lot of drive.

      • Jeannette, it is part of our history and those that worked in the bush or the outback country. There are stories about the laconic humour of these guys. Also I think it in some part is because of our weather. Except for certain parts of the country the weather is pretty good and we like our time off to enjoy the outside. That is not to say as you mentioned drive. Australians do have drive and work hard, but also enjoy weekends and holidays. We get more time off than Americans if you are employed. 4 weeks a year plus public holidays.

        • Susan — thanks for the explanation. For sure, in the U.S. work is 24/7. I can write to clients and business colleagues at any time of the day and night and expect a quick response, and vice versa. It wasn’t always this way but email and the internet have made us slaves to work and that’s not good. I yearn for the days when we actually relaxed on the weekend.

  8. This is rather fascinating. I have been out of the game for so long I didn’t know what the buzz words are and what not to use. Really good stuff 🙂

  9. Hi Jeannette: Thx for the reminder that we should all be updating/changing/massaging every one of our online profiles. I published my chocolate travel book last fall as you know, but wondered why I hadn’t been getting many random enquiries from media subscribed to the PitchRate and HARO sites. I only realized yesterday that I hadn’t updated my “expert” info with them, and was still listed as a source on volunteerism (which I am) but no mention of chocolate!

    It’s amazing how, despite the fact that we are online everyday and conscious of updating SOME sites, others inevitably fall thru the cracks.

    • Well, Doreen, I’m glad I reminded you to update your profile! You should be the go-to chocolate expert for reporters.

  10. Definitely interesting stats – though your definitions, were much more fun! But really, trying to say the same thing everyone else is saying in a new way, is very difficult – especially if you’re not naturally a writer. I think what Catarina said is pertinent too – why should you take out a word that is relevant? Creative for example, is a word that is fairly hard to replicate, though it definitely means different things to different people. Creative financing, for example, is a world away from the creativity of someone like Hockney. Context is the key, I think, and unlike this comment less is always more.

    • A.K. — You make their point, I think. When I see a auto repair shop say they deliver quality, or a boutique say they deliver quality merchandise, what does that mean? Does quality mean you do the repair as requested but don’t mention if something else needs fixing? Is quality merchandise the fabric, exclusivity, cheaper prices? I think it’s good to be as specific as possible. Another word that bugs me is “solution.” No idea most of the time what that means.

  11. I write LinkedIn profiles for a living and I’ve seen some corkers in desperate need of an overhaul over the years but that’s another story.

    If you’re looking for a job you need to use words that are relevant to your industry, knowledge, skills and experience, regardless of whether or not they’re in the top 10 list. This is because you need to ensure your Linkedin profile appears high up in the Linkedin people search function.

    I have to admit the use of ‘responsible’ is a pet hate of mine. It’s far better to use a more interesting and active verb to start a sentence. The term ‘responsible for’ is boring, boring, boring!

    Some words are over-used but with a little bit of thought a suitable alternative can be used in its place. The trouble is, too many people put little or no thought in to their Linkedin profiles when in reality, their profile needs to be spot on and updated regularly. Afterall, it’s effectively an online CV/resume.

    • Claire — I agree, LinkedIn is the “go to” source for recruiters and potential clients. It does not reflect well on someone when all they have is a placeholder without a photo or any description.