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15 Words to Avoid in Your Resume

15 Words to Avoid in Your Resume

Your CV is the first impression you make on a hiring manager. A good resume will help you get that job you’re after – or disqualify you from even getting an interview. That’s why it’s essential to ensure that your resume is well thought out. But it’s not enough. Increase your chances of getting hired by avoiding making common resume blunders like listing tired and overused words and phrases. Hiring managers have seen it all and are somewhat tired of repetitive, hyped-up words and catchphrases that are empty and meaningless.

So, it’s important to figure out words to avoid if you want to impress your potential employer. Here are 15 words and phrases to avoid in your resume:

Best of breed

This is an overused and meaningless term. Hiring managers are looking for the best person for the job, not the best of a breed. Avoid phrases like this. When an expression is thrown about too often, it becomes meaningless.

Go-getter

This can be interpreted as overzealous. Don’t boast about it; provide concrete examples of your successes. If you are trying to say that you often take the initiative, replace this phrase with a specific precedent of when you stepped up and took charge of a project or a situation. Examples are much more potent than meaningless phrases

Think outside the box

Another clichéd term. Most people say this, so it has lost its impact. If you have any specific examples of thinking outside the box, use them. Cite examples of innovative projects, methods, or ideas that you developed or created.

Synergy

This trendy term has been heavily overused and has lost its power. Avoid using it unless you can explain its relevance to your work performance. Describe your achievements using more precise language rather than vague “synergy.” Example: How you interacted with other departments in your field.

Go-to person

Again, show instead of telling. Describe examples that demonstrate your value as a go-to person. Are you the type of person that coworkers go-to in case there’s a work-related problem or the person your boss counts on when there’s an issue that must be resolved? Show examples of your go-to qualities.

Thought leadership

It is overblown and unclear. Want to tell your prospective employer how you developed various unique ideas that improved the running of your company? Then use the kind of words to describe those achievements.

Value add

What does this even mean? Use specific examples of how you added value instead of using this vague term. Quantify your success by providing facts and figures where possible. Specify how you added value by using words like “increased profits” or “brought in under budget.”

Results-driven

Describe examples of your results instead of this overused phrase. Show how you achieved impressive results at work. For example: if you work for an online company, you could mention how you monitor the success of each marketing campaign by measuring the click-through rates.

Team player

It is a given. Everyone wants to be considered a team player. Show the kind of team player by providing specific examples of instances where you collaborated with coworkers on projects as a team.

Bottom line

This term is more applicable to business. Avoid using it. Instead, show examples of what you did to improve the company’s bottom line. Be specific. Was it in terms of sales, budget, or expenditure?

Hard worker

Don’t waste resume space by saying you’re a hard worker. That’s a given. Instead, provide examples of how hard you have worked in your past employment. Did you go above and beyond what was expected of you? Were you willing to put in the extra hours when a project needed to be completed to meet a deadline? Did this happen often? Prove what a hard worker you are by providing details.

Strategic thinker

This is another vague description. Use clear examples to demonstrate why you’re a strategic thinker. Describe how you solved complex problems in your previous jobs by thinking strategically. Example: how you improved the company’s day-to-day operations or streamlined its manufacturing processes by thinking strategically. Use action words like “developed” or “implemented.”

Dynamic

An overused and empty adjective that does better at describing your personality but says little for your work ethic. How could your outgoing personality possibly have any bearing on the quality of your work and your abilities? It has no place and no value on a resume. Stick to past work experiences. If you feel you have a “dynamic” personality, the hiring manager will see it for themselves in the interview.

Self-motivated

You don’t need to waste time by saying it. Like “dynamic,” it doesn’t carry much weight and doesn’t prove anything. Instead, list achievements that demonstrate how motivated you are. Mention projects you developed independently without being told or projects you volunteered for. List anything that will prove you are self-motivated.

Detail-oriented

Most people say they are detail-oriented, so the phrase has lost its impact. The best way to show you’re detail orientated is by delivering a polished and well-thought-out resume – with no formatting or spelling errors! If you were tasked to do detail-oriented work in your previous employment, outline examples of this in your summary of work experiences.

Tips on using the right words in your resume:

  • Avoid clichéd words and phrases
    Avoid overused and tired phrases. Instead, use words and phrases that specifically explain your accomplishments in past jobs. Back it up with facts and quantifiable results.
  • Use action words
    Use action words to describe how you took on a leadership role or produced successful results for your company.
  • Use facts
    Use facts and figures to show how your efforts benefited your previous company. Example: did the sales increase by a quantifiable percentage because of your input?
  • Focus on the job you’re applying for
    What bearing do your past experiences and accomplishments have on the present job you’re applying for? Focus on your skills, results, and achievements that fit the job you’re after.

Conclusion

Using the right words and phrases in your resume will increase your chances of getting hired. Use your words carefully to convey the necessary information about your qualifications and add compelling context to your past work experience.

Date: 10 June 2022
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