Your LinkedIn profile is boring. Congratulations!

your linked in profileLinkedIn studied 135 million user profiles and released their second annual list of the top ten “overused buzzwords”. Here is the list for the US:

  1. Creative
  2. Effective
  3. Organizational
  4. Extensive Experience
  5. Track Record
  6. Motivated
  7. Innovative
  8. Problem Solving
  9. Communication Skills
  10. Dynamic

If you’re grimacing because you used one or more of these words, relax–it’s okay. In fact, using some of these words is probably a good idea. Here’s why:

  1. These words are overused for a reason: they are associated with positive attributes, the kinds of attributes people looking at profiles expect to see.
  2. If you didn’t include these words, people may wonder why. “What, you’re not creative?”
  3. People who use Linkedin profiles for hiring run through them quickly, like resumes, looking for reasons to reject a candidate. If a profile doesn’t have the basics, it may be rejected for that reason alone.
  4. Nobody pays attention. Profiles are skimmed, not read, at least initially, and most of what’s in a profile doesn’t matter. It’s like wallpaper–you would notice if the walls were bare or they were covered in red velvet, but you pay no attention to “regular” wallpaper (unless you’re a designer).
  5. Giving people what they expect to see, albeit with overused buzzwords, makes them comfortable, but it won’t get you the job or the client. Don’t limit your profile to the banal, flesh out your profile to show the uniqueness you offer.
  6. Nobody believes you. You can say what you want about yourself but what really counts is what others say about you, so make sure you have “recommendations”. It’s the most read and most persuasive part of your profile.

What’s the opposite of boring? Flamboyant? Loud? Exciting?

When people are looking to hire an attorney, I think being a little boring is actually a good thing.

This is WHY the ABA wants new rules to regulate online lawyer marketing

world's tackiest lawyer ad everLast week, I joined the chorus of attorneys who strongly object to the ABA’s proposal to promulgate new rules regulating what attorneys can do on the Internet to market their services.

This weekend, I saw a video of a TV commercial by Florida divorce attorney, Steven D. Miller and thought I might have been hasty. The video, which someone put on YouTube with the caption, “Tackiest Lawyer Ad. . .Ever,” is a prime example of why the ABA is considering new rules. Watch and you’ll see why.

[mc src=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1Qk6QPzuIc” type=”youtube”]Tackiest Lawyer Ad Ever[/mc]

Wait. It gets better.

The web site for Mr. Miller’s practice is. . . (are you sitting down?). . . “DivorceDeli.com“. Yep, you can look at their menu, call or click, and order your divorce. “Would you like pickles with your restraining order?”

I’m pretty open minded but let’s face it, this commercial and the entire “deli” concept is in very bad taste. It reflects poorly on all lawyers. One subscriber to this blog wrote to say he was against lawyer advertising of any kind because of the negative impression lawyers’ TV commercials have on juries and this has to be “Exhibit A”. But as ugly as this is, I still don’t want (or think we need) more rules.

I don’t want to legislate taste. I don’t want to outlaw embarrassing behavior. I don’t want to be told what I can and cannot do. And, unless it is the only way to prevent serious, irreparable harm, I don’t want to tell anyone else what to do.

Mr. Miller obviously does what he does because it’s working for him. God bless him. He’s serving a segment of society that might otherwise be denied access to the legal system because of their lack of funds (or good taste). I disagree with his approach but I must defend his right to do what he does without interference from the ABA or anyone else.

So, whether you laughed at this video and web site or recoiled in disgust, I hope you’re with me. If you agree that despite examples like these, we don’t need or want additional regulations, please tell the ABA.

Comments should be sent to: Natalia Vera, Senior Research Paralegal, Commission on Ethics 20/20 ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, 321 North Clark Street, 15th Floor, Chicago, IL 60654-7598. Phone: 312/988-5328, fax: 312/988-5280 and email: veran@staff.abanet.org. The comment period ends on December 15.