How to Handle Overused Resume Words

Overused Resume WordsLinkedIn just released the top 10 most overused resume words and phrases that appear in their members’ profiles. I immediately wanted to know these overused resume words AND was I guilty of using them on my resume and profile. The overused resume words are:

  1. Extensive experience
  2. Innovative
  3. Motivated
  4. Results-oriented
  5. Dynamic
  6. Proven track record
  7. Team player
  8. Fast-paced
  9. Problem solver
  10. Entrepreneurial

I was relieved that only one of these phrases was in my profile and resume.  Can you guess which one?  Before I felt too smug, I realized that while these words/phrases were overused there was nothing wrong with them.  They are perfectly good words and words/phrases that describe the characteristics that most employers want in their employees.  So, what should you do about them?  A synonym is too obvious, what about creating your own euphemisms.

I got this idea after reading an article from NPR Radio entitled “Pushing Up Daisies” And Our Passion For Euphemisms. A euphemism is often used to hide unpleasant or disturbing ideas.  However, there is another important aspect about euphemisms that people overlook.  A euphemism only has meaning to people familiar to their context.

So, if you think about it, a well-used euphemism hides overused resume words and phrases on a resume.  Consider the following:

  1. Expertise in (fill in the blank, software development, mergers and acquisitions, P&L, a.k.a. Extensive experience
  2. Acknowledged for creating new and alternative ideas… a.k.a. Innovative
  3. Fast learner and driven to action a.k.a. Motivated
  4. Consistently deliver business results a.k.a. Results-oriented
  5. Strong influence skills a.k.a. Dynamic
  6. Demonstrated success a.k.a. Proven track record
  7. Adapt to ever-changing situations a.k.a Team player
  8. High performance culture a.k.a. Fast-paced
  9. Demonstrated ability to identify and troubleshoot critical issues a.k.a. Problem solver
  10. Take on significant accountability a.k.a Entrepreneurial

Some of these may seem too subtle or obvious so feel free to come up with your own.  Just as there are recommended action words for resumes I can envision someone creating euphemisms for resumes.  That someone could be you or me.

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