Words You Need to Avoid Using on Your Resume
What makes a perfect resume? While the answer to that question may be highly objective, one overarching principle that makes a resume great is it’s inclusion of all of your outstanding achievements and job skill sets all put together in a way that captures the attention of the hiring managers or recruiter who reads it. If your resume doesn’t make a recruiter stop and pause because it piqued their curiosity, then you are wasting your time applying. It’s important to have a resume that is optimized to land on the recruiters desk, but after that it also needs to speak to the human eyes that see it.
One key thing to stay away from is using extensive vocabulary on your resume. It’s not the time to show the breadth of your literacy. Instead, spend your time using adjectives that relate and speak to anyone who may be reading the document. The last thing you want to do is use words that even a hiring manager doesn’t recognize. Additionally, avoid using words that are overused on every single resume a hiring manager will see. Some phrases have been used over and over for years - break out of the mold and communicate in new and engaging ways!
Avoid Using These Words on Your Resume
Objective is a word that was once used on almost every resume. The goal was to introduce and communicate your goals to a potential employer. The problem became that the word was used everywhere, and far too often. It lost it’s impact. If you want to have an opening statement on your resume in order to share your goals, use a phrase like ‘Summary Statement’ instead of objective.
Team player is another cliche type expression that is well intentioned, but honestly lacks impact. Anyone can label themselves a team player. Instead, explain real situations from your history in which you acted as a real team player. Reference the work groups and teams that you have been a part of and the successes that came about from working with others to achieve a common goal.
“Problem Solving Skills”
Let’s face it - everyone has problem solving skills to a certain capacity. What does that phrase use to differentiate you from the competition? If you want to highlight your ability to see solutions in complex problems, focus on the solution aspect in your text. Problem-solving skills has a negative connotation, while talking about creating solutions for complex workflow issues has a completely different feel. It’s focusing on the positive!
Every single person writing a resume thinks of themselves as a hard worker, whether they are in reality or not. What does that statement really do to communicate how you work to an employer? The goal is to be much more specific. Detail a situation in which you displayed your skills as a hard worker and the result that came of it. Alternatively, leave out the idea of being a hard worker all together. A well written resume will communicate that by your listed accomplishments and will not need to be specifically mentioned.
“Microsoft Office Skills”
This used to be a relevant topic to include on a resume, because at one point computers and document creation were new territory. In today’s modern era, we teach Microsoft Office skills to our children in elementary school. Calling this out on your resume is useless, as it doesn’t communicate anything unique about you as a candidate. Only list program certifications or knowledge if they are specific to a job qualification, or if they are lesser known, specialty programs that do make a difference. The Microsoft Office Suite or any other word processing software are not one of them.
‘I worked alongside my team to increase revenue by 40% year over year, and decrease expenses by 15% during the same timeframe.’ While that sounds like a great accomplishment, one major detail is missing. What part did you play in the ‘work’? Saying, ‘I worked’ does not communicate the active role you played in the project.
Instead, use adjectives that directly communicate the hand you had in making those accomplishments happen. Did you facilitate and organize a team to accomplish the goal? Did you create a system to decrease the expenses? Did you implement a program to motivate your sales team to reach greater goals? Were you an active seller that landed the majority of the sales contracts? Be specific - the details are the differentiators.
“Reference Available Upon Request”
This is one of the most detrimental phrases you could include on your resume. If you have references that you are proud of, why make it difficult to contact them by including them only on request? Make the process as easy as possible for the hiring manager and list your references with your resume.
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