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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

10 Phrases That Could Kill Your Resume!

Are these just meaningless throwaway words like "I have great communication skills". So what?  Do you find yourself using these terms. These terms are probably not helping your job seeking efforts. So what should you do to avoid using them?(Editor's Note)


10 phrases You Should Ban From Your Resume:


   1. "I'm a Team-Player."
      This is one of the most over-used cliches, so try to find a way you can show that you are this team player. Did you collaborate with someone or with a department to meet an objective? Put that on your resume instead of a vague, cliched expression. Be detailed about your achievement.

   2. "I Have Great Communication Skills."

      Communication skills can mean so many things, which is why using this term on your resume only makes you lose your recruiter's interest. What communication skills did you use to contribute to your employer? Did you create a presentation, a press release or lead a conference call? State your specific achievement.



3. "I Have a Proven Track-Record."   So prove it! What did you do to give you this track record? Be specific, and try to quantify your impact; "I brought in 10 new customers, adding $50k profit for 2009" sounds far more impressive than some vague statement, and will help you stand out among the dozens of resumes.

   4. "I'm a Problem Solver."
      Everybody loves a problem solver, which is why so many resumes state this skill with pride. You can do better: tell your prospective company what problem you solved. Did you optimize a troubling schedule, did you solve an employee dispute or did you iron out a problem with a customer? Again, be specific to be memorable.

  5. "I Assisted In X Task."
      Maybe you weren't the lead on a particular project, but saying you "assisted" is the kiss of death for your resume. What was it that you did? Did you write a sales report or keep inventory? Write that on your resume with pride, and lose the "assisted" - you're better than that.

   6. "I Have a Strong Work Ethic."
      A strong work ethic - that sounds great, right? You're not the only one using this cliche, so freshen up your resume by stating how you go that extra mile. Did you take a class to improve your skills? Did you meet some really tough deadline? Show the hiring official what makes you this person with a strong work ethic, instead of using another cliche like your fellow applicants.

   7. "I'm Bottom-Line Focused."
      Another hollow term that is overused and now means nothing - so show what you did that added to the bottom-line of your company. It's very important to quantify for this skill: list amounts of money, time, or resources you saved or added to the business.

   8. "I'm Responsible For X."
      We're all responsible for something when we go to work, whether a janitor or a CEO. Drop this expression and just state what your job title is and what you added to the company's success. Cutting these clutter words will make your resume stronger and more to-the-point.

   9. "I'm Self-Motivated."

      What you're really trying to say is that you're not that slacker who clocks out at three every day, but this cliche is not going to help you get your point across. Find a way to show that you're self-motivated: did you overhaul a broken inventory system, or find a new way to expand your sales territory? Self-motivated employees find innovative ways to improve on what they've been handed - put what you actually did on your resume.

  10. "I'm Accustomed to a Fast-Paced Environment."
      What does this mean, exactly? Fast-paced work environments are the norm in this recession, where most people do more work for less money. To be specific, look at one of your busiest days in your (former) job. What did you accomplish, and how did you adapt to the obstacles thrown your way? Put that achievement on your resume to prove that you can adapt when challenged - a quality employers look for."
For the complete article by Claire Bradley, go to Investopedia.com


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41 Post a Comment:

Katherine said...

Good tips. Might as well leave these phrases off because as the article says, people don't know what they really mean and they don't necessarily believe them just because you say them.

Amy said...

I believe these stock phrases positively won't help you. You have to decide who you are (your personal brand) and make sure that your language reflects that. Use powerful verbs and paint a picture that your audience (hiring managers, recruiters, HR managers) will never forget.

Ollezaza said...

Agreed, they should be removed.

What's amusing is that we were advised to put these phrases in there by some recruiters and most "expert" resume writers.

Ariella said...

these types of phrases are what one sees in job descriptions. So it is now wonder that job seekers sprinkle them in their resumes, taking their cues from the ones who hire.

Anonymous said...

I'm a self-motivated team player with great communication skills, a strong work ethic, and a proven track record of being responsible for assisting in problem-solving in a fast-paced environment and making an impactful bottom-line focus.

Do I get the job ?

Anonymous said...

I see hundreds of resumes each wekk and if I had a dime for each time I saw those phrases....

Bottom line- get rid of the fluff and show me the results. Sad thing is, I just pulled up my own resume which I haven't updated in years (head hung in shame) and I'm an offender.

ritu said...

well I believe that this article will really shatter the myths of a lot of candiadtes aspiring for better positions

Dorothy Dalton said...

As an executive search professional and a coach, candidates should know that using phrases like this won't kill their resume! Good headline though!

It's certainly true many are over used, but provided that metrics are supplied to back up these statements in the body of a resume, most recruiters should get beyond that.

It may sound improbable but not all people are good communicators and not everyone works well in a team. Not all positions demand either skill! Certainly not all environments are fast paced!

A good recruiter should see beyond the clich├ęs. Candidates should customise each CV and keyword strategically to get past ATS.

Anonymous said...

I always thought you used these broad phrases so that you can further explain and give examples in the interview. Really, how is anyone suppose to illustrate (while quantifying results) all that these phrases cover in a 1-2 page resume

Aidan Foley said...

Maybe we shouldn't be using those phrases you mentioned, but in a technical field like Engineering, they also want to know that you have soft people skills. Thanks for the article!

Anonymous said...

These phrases are often used on resumes because it is exactly the language, however unimaginative, used in the job description and by senior management everywhere. The applicant always struggles with trying to provide as much information as concisely as possible so, broad terms are often appealing because they hopefully communicate that you're trying to describe skills rather than appearing to have accomplished only the few specific things mentioned in the resume. Where most fail is in bridging the gap between concept and concrete example. Applicants are also trying to appeal to the widest possible audience and minimize the need to individually tailor each resume. Put all that on top of the fact that most doers are better at doing than they are at bragging, and it’s easy to see why there are so many poorly written resumes. It's unfortunate that many employers and recruiters don't do a better job of communicating what they do want.

Anonymous said...

After reading most of the comments made, I like to add my two cents worth of comments.
The article is indeed very interesting and well written and I am a guilty offender if this is true. However, to be honest are there many HR practitioners that actually open and read every resume or do they depend on some resume scanner software to detect for keyworks such those mentioned?
I believe those who did it, did it because some so-call resume experts advise and advocate the idea so the applicants have a higher chance of been picked up by the software and hence get the attention of the HR office and be called in for an interview.

alan r said...

I love the article. I wish the title was 10 key phrase that you must be prepared to defend. The author stresses at the end of each phrase to show your accomplishment, give an example etc. The phrases, without examples of us being a team -player, sound good but as the old commercial for Wendy's says "Where the Beef !!!

Anonymous said...

Worth considering, but as most commenters have said, some of these are phrases that are scanned for (by people AND software). Without them, your resume may get tossed ... also, it would have been helpful to actually post the live link to the original article.

Carlos said...

Great tips. Thank you. Have to update my resume now. Question: keeping space in mind, how can I incorporate some of my skills without typing an example for each one?

Resume Search said...

Thanks a lot for sharing this tips with us.
The post contains great valuable information, which is of great help.

Anonymous said...

this list looks like the a-z of terms used by contestants on "the apprentice" and invariably lord sugar digs out their CV and refers to one of these claims just before they are fired

Anonymous said...

i went looking for full article on investopedia.com and couldn't find it either under her name or key words like 'kill your resume'. any hints?

Amir said...

Good post but if we mention so many statements to prove our skills, don't you think that It may take a lot of words / Pages??????????

NHR Consulting said...

You forgot the worst offender of all 'I am a people person ' unless you are a reclusive vet, thats kind of a given......

Nasir said...

I appreciate the contributions, they have provided new dimension. At the same time, can anyone suggest what should a job seeker write if the said 10 statements are not woth mentioning? In real time, what i have experienced is thaut a neat photograph, to the point & nice worded 2 or 3 pages document with clear statements showing achivements is usually picked up for further evaluation from the bunch of CVs. The reason is that usually we receive loads of CVs, no body bothers to read each CV (which is wrong but true at present) and many potential candidates are side lined only for the reason that their CV doesn't have 'That Catch' for a 30 second scan.

Anonymous said...

Found the original article. It is Claire Bradley, not Fleur.
http://financialedge.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0510/10-Phrases-You-Should-Ban-From-Your-Resume.aspx

Shaik said...

Ya really it is miracles post! i agreed to remove this phrases, thanks a lot for share this noteworthy article with us.


CV Examples

Raed said...

The bitter truth is that employers use those phrases more than job seekers. Jargon such as the above is the result of years of so called "experts" trying to sell the unsalable; what a person thinks of your CV is highly dependent on that person, his personality, his mood...etc. It's not a science, and there is no "how-to". Unless you started working yesterday, there is no way that you will be able to squeeze your experience, accomplishments and virtues in 2 pages with examples. So, for the most part, we're stuck using babble that most would ignore, but that someone, somewhere would be intrigued by.

Don't kid yourself, those who frown upon this babble gladly write equally nonsensical phrases in their resumes. "Overhauled an inventory system", yeah, I never heard that one before!

Anonymous said...

As with most things, it is all the opinion of the person writing. One can not speak for how all hiring managers will read things. I think the advice is good advice, but not sure that using these phrases will automatically eliminate ones chances of being considered. I would like to think that education and experience, which is actions and not written on paper, will represent skillsets and ambitions.

Anonymous said...

No! im not changing my cv. why are these people the one to hire you? every human resource people are different they have their special way of knowing which cv
are a candidate for interview.

ranel

Lee Levitan said...

If the job posting specifically asks for (e.g.) someone with a strong work ethic, I think it is perfectly appropriate to include the phrase on your resume. Especially given that many companies use electronic screening of resumes that looks for keywords -- from their posting.

Sam Smith said...

executive search firms gave me great advice and really helped me out when i was job hunting.

Raj said...

Yes This Article Specifies to quantify the specifications mostly used in summary of resumes and quantified equally in there different project responsibilities. Such persons are either Project Managers, Business Analyst, CEOs, Sr. Marketing Executives, etc. mostly and not specific technical developers. Yes they may be a part Project Leads/Architects.

Shelly said...

Since your resume is your first impression, it ddefinitely makes sense to write sense there!

shreedhar parvathikar said...

present your resume for easy approach

really it sounds healthy

Anonymous said...

So I keep hearing about the over-use of certain words or phrases on resumes, and how trite they can make an applicant sound. This article certainly helps to explain WHY a word or phrase one might feel so-efficiently describes their work is suddenly "taboo" when used on a resume. It also helps to explain an alternative way to describe one's contributions. Here's my question that remains: Many/most, if not all, resumes/applications are now submitted electronically and these electronic application systems are said to be designed to "scan for keywords." (Hmmm, ....in my mind, key-words could certainly be equivalent to "cliche" words or phrases.) So, if the key words that have historically best-described one's better work-qualities are now avoided for fear of sounding cliche, then by leaving these words/phrases off of our resume, do we effectively risk being omitted from the search because none of these words popped up on the electronic scan of our resume? Or is there a new set of keywords we need to learn and use (that can later be deemed taboo, as well)?

Anonymous said...

This is good sound advice the real message is quantify quantify quantify and try to find a logical line of progress through your career in one or several areas that is the main message here. On the second note culture is so different if you say that you are part of the team here in the US it's the kiss of death if you say I did this and I did that it's the kiss of death in Sweden where I'm from - culture is not right or wrong but it sure is very different so remember these tips are for US resumes

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Anonymous said...

I lughed at #10 only because half of the job descriptions I see have "fast paced" or something similar mentioned. I love to see
"10phrases that kill a job listing"
:)

Andi Anderson said...

I truly like to reading your post. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such a nice information.
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Anonymous said...

You need these phrases in your resume so the HR software robots will filter your resume on key words. Sucks. But your resume will be passed by if you don't include them. You will be flooded by.

Satyesm said...

One thing is for sure, you should have eye-catching and interesting phrases for the HR to notice your resume, but you should overdo it.

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