Resumes are more fragile than you’d think. Pick the wrong word and the professional image you’ve fought to temper and mold can chip and splinter in your hands. Usually, it’s a combination of these 16 bland resume words that undermine your appeal and diminish your excellent credentials.
1.) Love – You never say “I love you” on the first date. Why would you say, “I love your company” on your first meeting? It makes you seem overzealous. Instead, talk about how you are “excited about the opportunity” or “eager to join a company where your personality fits.”
2.) Problem-solver – This is an instance when it’s better to give an example. Select an accomplishment from a recent job and write a quick blurb about the ways your nimble mind has brought about positive change. Include quantifiable results if you can.
3.) Responsible – As a word, responsible isn’t particularly interesting. However, employers get excited about someone who “took charge” or “spearheaded projects.” You convey the same sentiment with more punch.
4.) Hard Working – It’s a great quality, but it’s better to convey this truth in snapshot form. Relate how your diligence pushed successful projects to completion. Highlight instances of you juggling your workload without dropping a single ball.
5.) Creative – If you were truly creative, there are plenty of ways you could have approached your resume. Opt for an alternative resume format or provide ample examples of your on-the-job creativity in action.
6.) Experienced – Examples are far more powerful in this instance. Convey this through your extensive projects, numerous certifications, or multiform skill set.
7.) Go-Getter – It’s better to show that you’re hungry for new challenges and additional work instead of bluntly saying it. Give examples of how you’ve taken on increasingly demanding projects, all of which have earned their own accolades.
8.) Synergy – It’s a resume word that’s become exhausted through overuse. Once it was a buzzword. Now, a hiring manager will just roll his or her eyes before moving on.
9.) Think outside the box – It’s not too different from creative. Hiring managers want to see examples of how you’re walking the walk. Talking a good game isn’t enough. Showcase a few of your “outside-the-box” solutions in your resume and let the hiring manager decide whether the title fits the bill.
10.) Detail-oriented – For many jobs this is a great quality to have. However, it’s better to focus on how this trait has saved the bacon on big projects or kept quality at unparalleled levels. Give as many examples as you can throughout all of your listed jobs.
11.) Self-motivated – Here’s another great quality that isn’t conveyed well by the word itself. Spend your time talking about how you’ve tackled projects independently and remained on track for objectives with strict timetables. It conveys this quality without saying it in exact words.
12.) Hands-on – Examples are more potent here. However, you don’t want to just dwell in your day-to-day duties. Instead, focus your attention on projects impediments that you have personally worked to overcome. That way, you’re pulling a double duty with your example.
13.) Team player – No one wants to hire an employee who throws spikes into the road. However, saying you’re a team player isn’t enough. Embody that ideal by highlighting examples of your collaborative spirit. Lay out the ways you work well with others and march out the results.
14.) Versatile – It’s one of those resume words that isn’t really necessary if you’ve done your job right. A list of your skills or an outline of your achievements can hit home the same point with a much greater effect.
15.) Dedicated – It’s similar to responsible. In this case, it’s better to show how you overcame obstacles on a particularly tricky project. That way, you show your unwavering spirit without blathering on about it.
16.) Disrupt – It’s become a hackneyed phrase. Don’t use it unless you want to be lumped together with the other charlatans.
The main reason why most of these 16 resume words fall flat is that they fail to show you in action.
Most words make the claim that you are a doer, but they fail to deliver on that promise.
You need to harness the power of your major achievements, highlight all of your quantifiable milestones, and give oomph to your verbiage by conjuring up strong action words. Ultimately, that’s what will let your resume stand up under scrutiny and get hiring managers wanting to hear more.
by James Walsh