Avoid These Words in Your Resume

Many people think resume writing is easy.  After all, it’s a basic list of facts, (what your educational background is, when and where you worked, and what your job description was). Then, all that you need to do is sprinkle in a bunch of keywords that will grab the hiring manager’s attention, right?

Well, yes and no. Remember, a resume is usually your first chance to make an impression. So you don’t want to waste the precious and limited resume space on a bunch of useless keywords that won’t make you stand out of the crowd. Before you put any of these words on your resume, stop for a moment and really think of what they are saying to the hiring manager.
Here are several overused and unnecessary words to avoid in your resume..

1)  Hard worker

Good, because the hiring manager doesn’t want to hire anyone who is lazy! He only wants to hire a hard worker.


That will be a relief to anyone who wants to hire you. Otherwise, if you’re not self motivated, someone will have to set an alarm to remind you to do your work.

3) Team player

Unless you can do your job without ever having to interact with another human being, you absolutely need to be a team player.

4) Detail oriented

Another useless phrase because it’s expected that anyone working a job will need to pay attention to the details of the job.

5) Problem solving skills

Not very impressive when you know that Rhesus monkeys, bottlenose dolphins and border collies also have problem solving skills.

6)  Exceptional, Excellent or Outstanding

These are words that tell the hiring manager what a good job you did in your previous job, but it doesn’t show him anything about how. It’s objective as to whether or not you did an excellent job, unless you can back it up with examples to show him what you mean.

So what are the best words to use on your resume? Well, remember when you were in elementary school and your teacher wanted you to use action verbs? Powerful action words can make a big difference between grabbing a hiring manager’s attention or lulling him to sleep. Here are some examples to work into your resume. And don’t just use the words; give concrete examples of how they apply to you.

1) Achieved 

Toot your own horn if you’ve achieved something in your previous position that would be useful to your new potential employer. If you achieved 35% of territory growth from 2013-2014 by opening several high profile accounts, say so.

2) Increased/decreased

Here is a perfect example of how you can show a prospective employer something concrete. Instead of saying you were a “productive manager,” mention how you increased the sales numbers of your department by 16%.

3) Under budget

Remember, the main goal of every business is to make money. If you can show how you made the company money by bringing your department in under budget, you’ve got their attention.

4) Launched

Did you launch anything in your last job? A new online training system, perhaps? Or maybe you were involved in the launching of a new product line? If you did, mention it.

5) Negotiated

Again, if you negotiated something, be specific. And mention what the end result was. For example, say that you negotiated a new favorable contract agreement with outside vendors, which reduced your company’s expenditures by 15%.

6) Improved or Managed or Created

Using these powerful verbs will get you noticed. Did you manage several key accounts? Did you create a new sales office, or did you create a 75% growth over a nine month period in a particular territory? Did you improve your customer base by 20% through regular sales calls and assertive prospecting?

Avoid the aforementioned wishy-washy words, and intersperse concrete, definitive sounding words to create a great first impression.