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Never Use These Words On Your Resume

It's deceptively easy to make mistakes on your resume and exceptionally difficult to repair the damage once an employer gets it. So prevention is critical, whether you're writing your first resume or revising it for a mid-career job search.


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1 . 'Best of breed'

When CareerBuilder surveyed more than 2,200 hiring managers last year, it found "best of breed" to be the most irritating term to be seen on a résumé.

"Anyone can say they are 'best of breed,' a 'go-getter,' a 'hard worker,' or a 'strategic thinker'".

"Employers want to know what makes the job seekers unique, and how they will add value to the specific organization for which they're applying."

2. 'Phone'

There is no reason to put the word "phone" in front of the actual number.

"It's pretty silly. They know it's your phone number." The same rule applies to email.

3. 'Results-driven'

Instead of simply saying that you're results-driven, write about what you did to actually drive results — and what those results were

3. 'Responsible for'

Superfluous words like "responsible for," "oversight of," and "duties included," unnecessarily complicate and hide your experience.

Be direct, concise, and use active verbs to describe your accomplishments. Instead of writing, "Responsible for training interns ...," simply write, "Train interns ..."

5. 'Highly qualified'

Using terms like "highly qualified" or "extensive experience" won't make you seem better-suited for the job — in fact, it could have the opposite effect. Instead, focus on the skills, accomplishments, and credentials you bring to the role.

6. 'Seasoned'

Not only does this word conjure up images of curly fries, "it is well-recognized as a code word for 'much, much older.'"

7. 'References available by request'

This outdated phrase will unnecessarily show your age. "If you progress through the interviewing process, you will be asked for personal and professional references."

8. 'Team player'   

"Who doesn't want to be a team player? If you're not a team player, you're probably not going to get the job". 

But using this term isn't going to make you stand out from other candidates. "Instead, use an example of how you saved a company time, money, and resources on a team project or in collaboration with others."

9. 'Ambitious'

"Of course you would never say you're 'lazy' either, but calling yourself ambitious doesn't make any sense on a resume".

"It can imply that you're targeting this job now, but will quickly be looking to move up in the company because you won't be satisfied in the role, leaving the employer stuck with doing a new job search in the very near future."

10. 'Hard worker'

It's true that a company is less likely to consider you if you haven't worked hard or don't come across as someone who will put in what it takes to get the job done, but that doesn't mean writing "hard worker" will convince hiring managers of your efforts.

"Give concrete examples of how you’ve gone the extra mile, rather than using a non-memorable cliché," 


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11. 'Honest'

Honesty is one of those things you have to show, not tell
.
"It's not as if there are some other candidates out there vying for the job who are describing themselves as 'duplicitous' or 'dishonest.'"

12. 'Punctual'

Being punctual is great, but it's also pretty basic to holding down a job. Don't waste the space on your résumé.

13. 'People person'

Clichés like "people person" are impossible to prove, Recruiters have heard these phrases so many times they're likely to feel their eyes glaze over as soon as they see them.

14. 'Hit the ground running'

"The expression is unnecessary and doesn't add value. A recruiter isn't going to be able to place you if you're not eager to start the job and you aren't committed."  
 
15. 'My objective ... '

And while you're at it, don't bother including your career objectives. All they do is send the message that you're more concerned about yourself.

"When the first thing a recruiter sees on your résumé is what you want from them, they're turned off,"

16. 'Successfully'

It's generally assumed that you were successful at whatever you are including on your resume. 

"There is no need to say that you successfully managed a marketing campaign or successfully led annual budget planning."

17. 'Innovative'

Subjective words like "creative," "innovative," and "exceptional," are your own opinion and have very little bearing for a recruiter. Even worse, these words make you sound cocky.

Good test is to ask yourself if you'd say these things when speaking face to face with a recruiter.

18. 'Extracurricular activities'

Unless these activities are in some way related to the job you're applying for, no one really cares what you do in your spare time when they're skimming your résumé.

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