Resume No-Nos: Words to avoid in your resume

Transform your resume with active verbs and concrete achievements over clichés. Elevate your professional narrative by focusing on impact and skills, not just tasks.

Resume No-Nos: Words to avoid in your resume

Crafting a compelling resume is an art. It's not just about listing your experiences and skills; it's about presenting them in a way that catches the eye of recruiters and hiring managers. One crucial aspect of this presentation is the language you use. Certain words and phrases have become so overused in resumes that they've lost impact and may even work against you. Expressions like "responsible for," "duties included," or "worked with." Such language tends to be passive and fails to spotlight the significance of one's professional achievements. Employers want to see your impact in your roles, not just a list of assigned tasks.

Here’s a rundown of words you should avoid using in your resume and why

worried employee showing placard with unemployed word

1. "Unemployed"

Your employment status should not define your professional qualifications. Instead of focusing on periods of unemployment, highlight what you did during that time that could be relevant to your job search, such as volunteering, freelancing, or continuing education.

2. "Hardworking"

This term is vague and subjective. Employers expect all candidates to be hardworking. Instead of telling them you’re hardworking, show them by quantifying your achievements and demonstrating how your efforts have yielded positive results for previous employers.

paper with text objective on wood table

3. "Objective"

The classic resume objective statement is considered outdated. It often doesn’t add any value and takes up precious space. Replace it with a “Professional Summary” or “Profile” section that gives a snapshot of your skills and experiences relevant to the specific job.

4. "Synergy"

Business buzzwords like “synergy” come across as filler and can make your resume seem dated. Instead, use concrete terms that describe how you’ve collaborated with others or contributed to team projects.

5. "Go-getter"

While it indicates initiative, it can appear cliché and arrogant. It’s better to convey your initiative by describing how you’ve taken on additional responsibilities or pursued projects that added value to your company.

Two puzzle pieces on a blue background with the text 'Think outside the box'

6. "Think outside the box"

This phrase is so overused that it’s lost all meaning. If you want to show your creativity, provide examples of innovative solutions you’ve developed or creative projects you’ve spearheaded.

7. "Dynamic"

Everyone wants to seem energetic and capable of adapting to change, but "dynamic" is too generic and overused. Instead, describe situations where you've successfully adapted to changes or driven improvements.

Yellow marker on expert word

8. "Expert"

Be cautious with this word. Unless you truly are a recognised authority in a field, it can set expectations you may not be able to meet. Demonstrating your expertise through certifications, results, and specific skills is usually better.

9. "Responsible for"

This phrase is a missed opportunity to show your impact. Replace it with action verbs that showcase your direct involvement in achieving results, such as "managed," "led," "developed," or "delivered."

10. "Experience working in"

Instead of this passive language, highlight your experience with active descriptions of your achievements. Use bullet points to detail your successes and the skills you’ve gained.

salary in paper envelope at workplace

11. "Salary Negotiable"

This goes without saying and doesn’t need to be on a resume. Salary discussions will take place if you advance through the interview process.

12. "References Available Upon Request"

This is another redundant statement. Employers assume you’ll provide references if they ask for them.

Clock and paper money with the word successful

13. "Successful"

Rather than stating you are successful, let your accomplishments speak for themselves. Provide concrete examples of your success with numbers and facts to back them up. In conclusion, the key to crafting an impactful resume is carefully selecting words and phrases. Avoiding overused and vague terms can significantly enhance your resume's effectiveness. Instead of relying on clichés, focus on providing clear, specific examples of your achievements and skills. Replace passive language with active verbs that illustrate your direct contribution to past roles. By doing so, you create a narrative that outlines your experiences and highlights your value as a potential employee. Remember, your resume is your personal marketing tool; it should showcase your strengths and distinguish you from other candidates. By steering clear of these common resume no-nos, you ensure that your resume stands out for all the right reasons, paving the way for successful job opportunities.

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