Helpful Synonyms for All of LinkedIn’s “Most Overused” Words

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Today, LinkedIn released a list of their user’s most overused words for 2014. Apparently, all of the motivated, passionate and creative people on the business networking site are motivated, passionate and creative in exactly the same way. This just won’t do – corporate ninjas and gurus need to be able to differentiate themselves from business-oriented rock stars and wizards. So, just like in college, we turned to Thesaurus.com to swap out those tired old adjectives for impressive new ones. Please update your resume accordingly:

  1. Motivated: Thesaurus.com points out that another way to say “motivate” is “sway.” What a pleasant word, “sway,” calling to mind stalks of tall grass wavering gently in the breeze. A word like “sway” will calm and sooth employers, whispering reassurances to them about your capability and softly patting their heads with your drive. If you really want to impress future employers, tell them you are not just “swayed” but “easily swayed.”
  2. Passionate: Passionate is such a great word – it conveys so much desire, so much caring, so much heart. But fortunately, human experience and a few millennia worth of poetry means that we have a gorgeous selection of alternate terms: try “ardent,” romantic,” “wistful,” “amorous,” “aroused,” or even “concupiscent.” By the time they look that last one up, sexual harassment charges will already be filed.
  3. Creative: Ironically, creative is the only word that means “creative.” JK, JK, Silicon Valley was actually built on a foundation of words that are intended to imply inventiveness. You won’t sound overblown at all when you’re applying to an accounting position using words like “visionary” or “ingenious” or “gifted.” Theasaurus.com also suggested “originative,” which is apparently a real word even though it sounds like something Will Ferrell’s W. would have coined. Use it as much as you can, and if anyone looks at you funny just say, “hey, it’s a real word.”
  4. Driven: Drive isn’t just a movie starring Ryan Gosling -- it’s an important quality in any prospective employee. The important thing when trying to replace the word “driven” is to communicate just how intense your drive truly is. Suggestions include, “obsessed,” “consumed,” “possessed,” and “monomaniacal,” all words that would make for a great LinkedIn headline. Or, use a picture of Ryan Gosling in that scorpion jacket as your profile photo. Your message will be received.
  5. Extensive Experience: Let’s break this down – we’ll need words that mean “extensive” and words that mean “experience.” Suggestions include: “broad struggle,” “major participation,” “sweeping know-how,” and “protracted intimacy.” Do not worry about sounding like a broken translation robot; employers love innovative language. But you already knew that, with all your lengthy forbearance.
  6. Responsible: When looking to hire, most companies are seeking candidates who are truly able to handle the powers and obligations of their job. This could mean anything from ordering enough pencils to delegating to underlings to taking the fall for scamming thousands of elderly people of their pension – it depends on the job! So put your willingness to do what it takes right up front. Sub in words like “guilty,” “culpable,” or “liable,” and the right corporation will beat a path to your door.
  7. Strategic: So, here, Thesaurus.com honestly fails us a little. They suggest words like “vital” or “critical” but those are so vague and unproven. Instead, take a cue from “originative” and just go with “strategery.” You’re hired.
  8. Track record: Showing employers that you have succeeded time and time again is especially valuable to older job-seekers looking to beat out the fresh-out-of-college hoards who are clamoring for jobs. You have been on that track, making records, and you can point to that. Using the same strategery (man, that sketch from 15 years ago is the gift that keeps on giving) as we did with “extensive experience,” suggestions include “path evidence,” “footprint almanac,” “groove transcript,” “rut report,” or “tread testimony.”
  9. Organizational: The very first recommended substitute for “organizational” is “bureaucratic,” so we can stop looking right there. Bringing to mind the efficient lines at the United States Post Office and hassle-free process of trying to renew your driver’s license will tell your boss-to-be that you will be on top of things and easy to work with.
  10. Expert: There are plenty of good words that mean “expert,” and many of them benefit from sounding best when shouted by a 1930’s snake oil salesman – “crackerjack,” “virtuoso,” “slick,” and “big league” will all let people know that you mean srs bizniz. But sometimes we don’t have to tear up the foundation to give the house a modern twist. Simply add an “s,” and watch as job offers pile in. Having the sexpert advantage promises huge opportunity, so jump on this bandwagon before Bob from legal beats you to it.