When you’re writing your resume, it’s best to avoid the cliche words that hiring managers and recruiters see over and over again. Even if you feel the terms are accurate, there is usually a livelier, more original way to describe yourself.
Here are five words and phrases you should avoid putting on your resume.
1. Hard Worker
Describing vaguely positive traits in a resume doesn’t prove your worth and may even undermine your value as a candidate in failing to show how you’re different. Focus on concrete skills and accomplishments instead of relying on personal description through adjectives, says David Allocco, a business development and operations executive at PierceGray, Inc.
“I would avoid the term ‘hard worker’ as it’s general and something anyone could apply to themselves,” Allocco says. “Instead, highlight actual accomplishments and results you can show off to potential employers. They like seeing data-driven numbers as opposed to general blanket statements.”
Idioms may add color to an informal conversation, but they don’t distinguish you professionally when used on your resume.
“Avoid overused and tired business idioms: out-of-the-box, win-win, core competencies, empowered, best practices There are many more; these are perfectly acceptable words, but they've been so overused that people are sick of them,” says Karen Southall Watts, author of “Go Coach Yourself.” “Rephrase and think clarity and not jargon. Avoid describing duties and instead focus on results. ‘Supervised a team of 12’ is much less compelling than ‘Led sales team to 5% increase in total closed deals.’”
Avoid mentioning money before you even get to the interview. “Any mention of the word ‘salary’ on a résumé sets off red alarms to an employer and would discourage them from bringing you in for an interview,” warns George Bernocco, a resume writer.
4. Reference Available Upon Request
This line isn’t necessary.
“Do not put ‘Reference available upon request’, or the names and contact points of the references themselves,” advises Elliot Lasson, executive director of Joblink of Maryland, Inc. “The former is understood, superfluous, and therefore just takes up valuable space. As for the latter, given that companies will often ask for a waiver before contacting references, they should probably be kept in a separate document.”
Your resume isn’t simply a summary of yourself. You are talking about yourself, technically, but through the lens of the company’s needs and expectations.
“We already know your objective,” says Lisa Rokusek, a managing partner at AgentHR Recruiting Group. “Instead of telling us about what you want, use this space to tell us about you and your experience. Make sure it is relevant to the role you are interested in. Make a thought argument for getting a conversation.”
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