Remember the good old days when we typed up our resume on fancy paper? 

In addition to a stellar job history, you had to use the latest resume format and print it on heavier stock paper to make a great first impression. 

Hundreds of paper resumes would arrive on the hiring manager's desk and it was your job to grab their attention (just like the way I teach you to make your LinkedIn profile stand out from the crowd). 

This is before resumes were scanned or electronic where your focus is on placing keywords in the correct location of the resume. 

Keyword placement is almost more important than your job experience. 

Whether you remember the paper resume days or today's electronic version, there are buzzwords you need to avoid on your resume.

  • Hard-working
  • Self-motivated
  • Team player
  • Detail-oriented
  • Problem solver
  • Proactive

If you work in HR or were a hiring manager, I'm sure you've seen these annoying, empty catchphrases more times than you can remember. 

It turns out that people who need to pad their resume with these meaningless phrases usually don't have these skills. 

I assume everyone I hire would be hard-working, self-motivated, proactive and a team player. 

From my experience, hiring these people rarely works out.

Today, I'm going to share the 2020 version of these annoying phrases I see every day in LinkedIn messages. 

Every day people invite me to connect with a message that includes at least one of these empty phrases.

  1. We have common connections (tell me which connections we have in common)
  2. We have similar interests (again tell me what interests we share)
  3. I see you are in the XXX industry (so what?)
  4. I'm looking to connect with like-minded thought-leaders (tell me why are we like-minded)
  5. I want to develop a mutually-beneficial relationship (how many of your LinkedIn connections would you consider mutually beneficial?)
  6. We are both members of a LinkedIn group (tell me which group and show me your last post in that group)
  7. Would you be open to a quick phone call to XXX (Sorry, I don't kiss on the first date)
  8. I saw your profile and would like to connect (what about my profile makes you want to connect with me?)
  9. You have an impressive LinkedIn profile and I would like to connect (Again, what impressed you about my profile and how will you add value to my network?)
  10. Let's connect so you can take my survey about XXX (yes people ask me to connect so I can take their survey)
  11. BONUS - I would like to add you to my professional network (NEVER use the default connection message)
You get it. 

These empty phrases do nothing to convince me you will add value to my LinkedIn network.

Instead, share details and why you want to connect with me.

  • I saw you speak at Perry Marshall's Truth Seminar and...
  • I really enjoyed your webinar on Jeff Walker's Launch Club and...
  • I enjoyed your presentation today at the Bay Area Consultants Network. I'm updating my LinkedIn profile now...
  • I also attended the University of Pittsburgh. Go Panthers!
  • I've been reading the articles and comments you're posting under the #leadership hashtag. I agree with you that we need strong leaders to step up and lead us back to prosperity and...
  • I enjoyed your article, LinkedIn Message Etiquette that you posted in the Marketing & Sales Group. I'm so tired of spammy LinkedIn messages and I love your approach and...
  • I read your article about LinkedIn SEO on Thank you for the great tips and I would like to connect so...
  • I saw the Twitter documentary on CNBC and I enjoyed your contribution. I learned a lot about Twitter advertising and would like to connect so...
You get the idea.

Instead of inviting me to connect by talking about YOU, turn it around the talk about ME. 

If you haven't read How to Win Friends and Influence People, I highly recommend grabbing a copy of this classic by Dale Carnegie. 

Follow Carnegie's principles in person and on social media and you will see a dramatic improvement in your business.

About the author 

Ted Prodromou

Would you like me to help you?

I'm the #1 best-selling author of Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn for Business and Ultimate Guide to Twitter for Business. People call me America's Leading LinkedIn Coach.

I'm the founder of Search Marketing Simplified, LLC, a full service online marketing agency. The SMS team designs and implements advanced LinkedIn and social media lead-generation strategies for small to medium-sized businesses. SMS will set up and manage your marketing funnels using organic, social and paid traffic.

Did you know I've been working with the internet since 1991, long before Al Gore invented it?

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