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Stop hiding behind useless career brand clichés

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Stop hiding behind useless career brand clichés


Unless you are a food group you are not ‘seasoned’. And unless comatose you will mostly likely be a ‘problem solver’. And everyone is ‘passionate’ about something.

These clichés are amongst the most useless and boring to litter resumes and LinkedIn profiles of marketing and other professionals.

They are as inspiring as wet toast in a cave and won’t do personal brands or job search endeavours any favours.

As an ex recruiter, I still keep a bottle of Visine on hand to soothe my long injured eyeballs.  You see my eyes used to fall backwards in my head and get blurry from reading the same trite descriptions that could apply to thousands of other candidates.

You want to sound inspiring and unique, not a carbon copy of any other Tom, Dick or Mary.   It all can start to feel a little like Stepford Wives as vanilla replicas of each other. 

The irony of expertise vs application 

It’s quite ironic isn’t it that experts don’t always translate their own chops to themselves.  Hairdressers with horrid hair styles, car mechanics driving bombs, builders living in dumps and financial planners in debt.  I could go on but you get the drift eh.

And as for marketing and creative experts, they can often struggle with writing about themselves, despite communicating their client’s brilliance with unique eloquence.

Look, it’s hard to see the label when you are in your own jar.  And if introverted, it can be particularly cumbersome to write a resume or profile with personal pizazz.  

Remember reality statements are not value judgements so it’s perfectly okay (and indeed imperative) to share what you actually did to back up a statement of claim.  

So time to rejig guys and gals.  

As 2023 is approaching, things will be heating up in the job and business market. We are already seeing many technical marketing peeps become redundant and a change of guard. The competition in 2023 will be back on. 

Clichés to ditch

These are the 20 most overused clichés and boring phrases on LinkedIn profiles and resumes. They can also relay a perception of being lazy, uncreative and even pompous and unaware. Perception matters and phrases that are over cooked just fall flat.

And using multiple clichés is just a jargon infested word headache fest. For example are you really a: 

“Determined self motivated problem solver who has excellent written and verbal communication skills.” Yawn!

 “Seasoned, passionate, results driven people person who thinks outside the box” Yawn!

  1. Excellent written and verbal communication skills 
  2. People person
  3. Results orientated/driven
  4. Seasoned
  5. Highly motivated
  6. Team player
  7. Love a challenge
  8. Bottom line focussed 
  9. Problem solver 
  10. Self starter 
  11. Determined
  12. Thinks outside the box 
  13. Passionate
  14. Highly organised
  15. Strong attention to detail 
  16. Exceeded expectations 
  17. Enthusiastic 
  18. Hard worker 
  19. Innovative 
  20. Thought leader

How to differentiate  

Showing not stating is essential on resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Adding context, stories and examples cut the cloth from banal to exciting.  

Demonstrate your chops (skills) and personality within a narrative not a cliché. Stating without context is like a roast dinner without vegetables – what’s the point! 

If you do use any of these cliché you must expand and with more detail and colour and examples. And always write in the first person, not third. Keep the third for bios and conferences thanks.

And final tip: The phrase thought leader is self-proclaimed and thrown around like lollies these days. It’s for other people to bestow that label not for self proclamation on resumes or LinkedIn.

So go and stand out, demonstrate your chops and show your unique brilliance with flair.


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Sue Parker

Sue Parker is the owner of Dare Group Australia. She is a national career strategist, personal branding and LinkedIn expert.

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