Is Your Resume Plagued with Overused Resume Terms?

In reviewing resumes, I often come across terms that are overused and don’t provide a lot of value to your document. Here are some examples:

Great communication skills
This tends to be a throwaway term because few people even recognize (much less acknowledge) their poor communication skills. I always cringe a little when I see this included in a resume that also contains improper sentence structure or awkward verbiage. Generally, unless you’re applying for a position for which excellent communication skills are imperative, those abilities should shine through in the quality of your resume—without your having to spell them out.

Attention to detail
This is another term that many people use to describe themselves. Of course, it’s all right to claim on your resume that you’re detail-oriented, but if you do include this term, you’d better make sure there are absolutely no spelling, punctuation, grammatical, or sentence structure errors in your document!

Experienced or seasoned
Spelling out your years of experience on your resume is good. However, describing yourself as either “experienced” or “seasoned” can come off as a euphemism for “old”. Your title and accomplishments should speak to your professional achievements; there’s no need to age yourself with adjectives like these.

Work well independently
Not only is it difficult for many people to ascertain whether they truly work well on their own, but sometimes this phrase can be interpreted as “not interested in being a team player”. By using your resume to highlight projects that you led or completed independently, you can make the same point without wasting space with this description of yourself.

The terms above are frequently used on resumes, often by candidates who really don’t even possess them. Instead of using these throwaway terms to describe yourself, attempt to outline specific accomplishments that you could only have achieved through your communication skills, experience, attention to detail—or whatever your strengths may be.

Check out our blog for additional career, job search, and resume related advice. You can also view professionally-written resume samples.


Author:

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, speaker and President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast. She creates high-impact, best-in-class resumes and cover letters that transform job searches into interviews and ultimately job offers. For more information about professional resume writing or to read more career and job search related articles visit http://www.greatresumesfast.com or call 1.800.991.5187.

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, global resume authority and President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast, is a former HR Manager who partners with professional- and executive-level candidates to create authentic, branded resumes and cover letters. An international resume columnist and resume expert for JobTalkAmerica radio, her work opens doors to lucrative positions at Fortune 500 companies.

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Comments

  1. Mark says:

    Interesting article about cliched resume terms. One major reason these terms have become so hackneyed is that HR departments often don’t even have a human read the millions of resumes sent them each second. They use automation to pass through only those resumes with such key phrases. So of course smart people looking for work will incorporate this terminology into their resumes, work histories and online applications to ensure they have a chance at scoring that very rare interview.
    Therefore, it doesn’t pay to stick out in our communications these days.

  2. Brendan says:

    While I agree that these phrases are overused, I find it funny that those are almost verbatim the same phrases I see listed as qualifications on job postings time and again… I wonder where people got the idea that they should list them as qualifications on their resumes?

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