Career Advice

Avoid Overused and Cliché Resume Keywords and Phrases
Staff posted on December 15, 2010 |
When writing a resume, you want to do your best to capture your accomplishments and skills in a way ...

When writing a resume, you want to do your best to capture your accomplishments and skills in a way that makes you stand out from fellow job applicants. Using critical keywords can make or break you as recruiters and employers search their resume database.

The following is a list of 5 (there are many more) keywords and phrases that do more to hinder an applicant’s chances than helping their chances at getting a face-to-face interview with an employer.

  • Strong communication, customer service and organizational skills
  • Track record of success
  • Team player
  • Hard-working
  • Experience working in fast-paced environment

Employers are not looking for vague expressions or generic resume fillers. They want specifics that demonstrate these vague generalities. After all, how many times you think a particular employer would come across "Hard-working" when looking through a pile of 1,000 resumes?

Instead of using cliché expressions that group you in with the rest of the jobseeker talent pool, try and strengthen the generality or cliché with specific examples to help you rise above the rest. Here’s an example of how to do that:

Instead of using, "A Track record of success has followed me where ever I have worked," try to explain how you got this track record. Try something like "I have consistently increased regional sales revenue by 10% for the past 5 years. Using examples such as this will lead employers and recruiters to determine for themselves that you have a "track record of success".

Finally, in addition to the above phrases, the following is a list of keywords to try and avoid, or at the very least strengthen with specific examples: Aggressive, Ambitious, Competent, Creative, Detail-oriented, Determined, Efficient, Experienced, Flexible, Goal-oriented, Independent, Innovative, Knowledgeable, Logical, Motivated, Meticulous, People person, Professional, Reliable, Resourceful, Self-motivated, Successful.

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