A Ruined Resume
Sometimes words can hurt; especially when they’re on your resume.
Over the past few years employers have read hundreds of resumes from people desperately seeking a paycheck. And by the time they are halfway through the pile there are a few clichés, phrases and words that will do more harm than good.
To help you edit out unnecessary filler careerbuilder.com interviewed 1,300 managers at companies all across the country. Their feedback became a list of ten words or phrases that you should retire from your resume.
For example, “people person.” Employers don’t want to know that you can play well with others. They want specific examples of how you have managed this. That can include winning over a challenging co-worker or client of helping a group of people come to an agreement.
Then there are words such as “reliable.” This is a basic requirement of any job. Employers already expect this of you, so delete this adjective and any others like it. For more must have edits keep reading. You don’t want the door getting shut on your foot.
Ten Things to Leave Out of Your Resume
1. Hard worker
Nothing causes a hiring manager's eyes to glaze over faster than seeing this hollow descriptor. Why? Because virtually all applicants – even the least-motivated clock-watchers – claim to work hard.
To impress a prospective employer, you'll need to explain exactly how you've gone the extra mile. Do you regularly meet aggressive deadlines, handle a high volume of projects, exceed ambitious targets or volunteer to tackle tasks outside your role?
Companies seek astute candidates who can get off to a strong start without excessive managerial direction and handholding. (In another Robert Half survey, managers cited mastering new processes and procedures as the greatest challenge when starting a new job.)
Unfortunately, simply saying you're a "self-starter" won't convince anyone of your initiative, resourcefulness or ability to quickly make meaningful contributions. Instead, illustrate how you've thrived when managing important projects with little or no supervision.
3. Team player
This term is the cliché of clichés. Working well with others is imperative, but get specific. Spell out the ways you've collaborated with colleagues. Did you dive in to help an overwhelmed coworker deliver a high-priority project or lead a key cross-departmental initiative?
4. Highly qualified
When it comes to your qualifications, show, don't tell. Skip this empty expression and describe what you'll bring to the position. Whenever possible, quantify your biggest achievements (think about money you've generated or saved your employers, for instance).
In addition, emphasize your most pertinent skills and certifications. Researching the firm and doing a careful reading of the job posting can help you determine which aspects of your background to focus on.
What does this well-worn term really mean? That you're bursting with innovative ideas and positive energy? If true, just say that. Characterizing yourself as "dynamic" is boastful and sounds unnatural. Unless you regularly don a cape as part of a crime-fighting duo, you can safely banish blasé buzzwords such as this.
6. Problem solver
While being a "problem solver" beats being a "problem creator," employers want tangible evidence of your effectiveness. What specific solutions have you devised? How have you overcome hurdles? Have you helped your boss or colleagues out of jams or streamlined workflow inefficiencies?
Don't waste space touting "strengths" that are basic requirements of any job, such as reliability. It's expected that you – and every other potential hire – will be dependable. Showing up on time and doing your work isn't worth bragging about. After all, anything short of reliable would be unacceptable. Delete it.
8. Familiar with
Many job seekers rely on this ambiguous phrase to obscure a lack of in-depth knowledge in a particular area. For instance, a person can technically claim to be familiar with a software program they've used just once.
This type of wishy-washy wording raises red flags. It won't give employers any sense of your level of expertise, but it will dilute the impact of your more relevant core competencies.
Change is the only constant today. As such, companies seek versatile professionals who'll adjust easily to new situations. But go a step beyond merely referring to yourself as flexible. Underscore your adaptability by explaining how you successfully responded to a major change at work or deftly dealt with unpredictable aspects of your job.
10. People person
Interpersonal skills are critical for most positions. Employers value professionals who can communicate effectively and build camaraderie with a diverse array of internal and external contacts. Cite examples of how you won over a challenging coworker, client or customer, or helped a group of stakeholders reach a consensus.