In the era of fake news, we’re all touting ‘expertise’ on LinkedIn
Apple MacBook Pro with LinkedIn on the screen. Image: mirtmirt/Shutterstock

In the era of fake news, we’re all touting ‘expertise’ on LinkedIn

13 Feb 2018

New research from LinkedIn reveals that the increased use of terms such as ‘experienced’ on user profiles can be attributed to the era of ‘fake news’.

Fake news and economic instability may be shaping the way we represent ourselves online, according to the latest data released by LinkedIn.

LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, analysed the terms being used on Irish member profiles in 2017 as part of its yearly round up of buzzwords.

This analysis revealed that the term ‘successful’ no longer ranks in the top 10, while ‘experienced’ has shot up and taken the No 1 spot.

To elucidate the findings, LinkedIn partnered with Prof Rodney Jones, who heads up the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics at the University of Reading, to see what could be gleaned about the jobseeker of today based on their linguistic choices.

The top 10 buzzwords on Irish LinkedIn profiles are as follows:

  • Experienced
  • Specialise
  • Skilled
  • Motivated
  • Leadership
  • Excellent
  • Passionate
  • Focused
  • Driven
  • Expert

Use of the word ‘expert’ re-entered the top 10, while ‘specialise’ nabbed second place overall. According to Jones, both indicate that anxieties caused by current events are bleeding into our word choices when presenting ourselves to our professional network.

“This type of language can be viewed as a wider comment on how society is searching for accountability and verifiability – in part, a reaction to the increasing focus on fake news surrounding the 2016 US presidential election and the Brexit referendum,” Jones explained.

“Where once there was a focus on branding one’s own authenticity, economic uncertainty means authenticity is no longer important – it’s about verifiability.”

The data indicates that jobseekers are moving away from emphasising personal strengths such as ‘driven’ and ‘successful’ and towards boasting skills that are easier to categorise.

Jones said: “This narrowing down from generic terms to far more specific words such as ‘skilled’ and ‘experienced’ reflects a change in job roles that are becoming more specialised.

“Roles in the banking and pharma sector, for example, are under increasing scrutiny and, as a result, require more verifiable skills and attributes.”

The continued presence of words such as ‘leadership’ in the top terms used on profiles is representative of the organisational shifts going on in the workplace.

Jones said: “Companies are becoming less hierarchical – even junior members are expected to demonstrate leadership. In contrast, ‘organised’ fell out of the top 10 after 2015, as professionals search to demonstrate management capabilities over more functional attributes.”

Commenting on the findings, LinkedIn career expert Darain Faranz mused: “For many, a job is no longer for life. We continually look to move on, evolve and strive for new and better opportunities.

“This results in a language of optimisation; people ‘skill up’ and highlight this on their profiles.

“With recruiters using keywords to identify the perfect candidates, we’re encouraging members to ensure they’re using the right words to land their dream job.

“There has never been a better time to ensure the words you choose are selling you as powerfully as they would do in an interview.”

Apple Macbook Pro with LinkedIn on the screen. Image: mirtmirt/Shutterstock

Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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