10 Most Cliché Resume Phrases

You need to stop using them and why it actually matters

 

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery but repetition can be downright torturous. Think about the person in your family, everyone's got one, that tells you the same story over and over every time you see them. You probably endure it because you have to or because you care about the person, but that type of monotonous storytelling can be downright mind numbing. 

 

Imagine that on a larger scale: hundreds of different people telling you the same story EVERY SINGLE DAY. It would be extremely difficult to find meaning or excitement in anything they said. That's what it's often like for HR departments sifting through resumes. Now envision after hearing that same story on repeat, you encounter someone that has something new to say. It may be a bit of the same information but the way it's put together is different than anything else you've been hearing. Your ears perk up, that person gets your full attention, and the cycle of the broken record ends. That is the person you want to keep talking to and get to know better. That's the difference a great resume makes and why the words you use to talk about your work and your brand matter.

 

Year after year LinkedIn comes up with a list of the top overused buzzwords they see from their membership. It is an attempt to clue people in on how redundant their career storytelling is and in essence help you move away from these typical clichés. For those of you paying attention and wanting to have a resume that makes a standout impression, here is LinkedIn’s 2017 list. Many will be familiar; most should be removed from your career vocabulary: 

1.    Specialized
2.    Leadership*
3.    Passionate*
4.    Strategic*
5.    Experienced
6.    Focused
7.    Expert
8.    Certified
9.    Creative*
10.    Excellent

 
(*) Included on 2016’s list as well.

 

We'd like to piggyback on LinkedIn’s efforts and share our own list of offenders based on the resumes we read day in and day out. Words matter and we don’t want you to waste space with yours. These are the 10 words/phrases we’d love to never see on resumes again: 

1.    Responsible for
2.    Dedicated
3.    Detail-oriented
4.    Organized
5.    Self-Starter
6.    Enthusiastic
7.    Dynamic
8.    Team Player
9.    Seasoned
10.    Hard worker

 

The words on these lists are not the hallmarks of a good resume, but one that lacks any sort of originality. 

 

It all comes down to being superficial and subjective; these words don’t mean anything without evidence and context.  Instead of using them as a crutch, write about your own work with specifics. Show your value with examples of accomplishments rather than labels. You’ll find you don’t need “buzzwords” when you communicate about your work in this manner!

 

Your resume is a place to SHOW your value. You don't need to use these cliché words to do that. If you do, you’ll just sound like everyone else applying for the same job. When working on your resume, keep this list handy. There are better ways to say things and by finding them you can make yourself stand out in a positive way. Save the clichés for someone else.

 

 
 
 

 

How many of these words are on your resume? Tell us in the comments below. We're sure you will find you are not alone!

 

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