You know that feeling you get when you’re sure you’ve seen something before? At RezScore, we get that feeling all the time…looking at resumes.
The resume is a blank canvas that any job seeker can transform into a unique document. When every resume uses the same jargon in the same way, it’s just a waste of space and opportunity.
I’ve compiled a list of words that are the very worst offenders when it comes to resume déjà vu:
The dictionary defines “Dynamic” as “a force that stimulates change or progress within a system”. That sounds so shiny and wonderful; it should be in your resume, right? What does it actually say about you? Instead of telling an employer that you are dynamic, tell them about what you’ve accomplished that makes you dynamic.
Be aware that not every industry even wants a results-oriented individual. In a way, it says, “I don’t care how I get there, just as long as I do.”
You wouldn’t include, “I’m really nice” into your resume, would you? Just because a piece of paper says so doesn’t make this nebulous fact true. Save the interpersonal qualities for emails, phone calls, and face-to-face interactions.
_______ available by request
References, writing samples, or anything else… This line is a waste of precious resume real estate. If an employer is interested in you, they will ask for additional materials. Side note: when a job posting specifically asks for references or writing samples, include them!
Sure, on paper, a problem-solver seems like an amazing addition to any company. Instead of mentioning you’re a problem solver, try to include at least one example of you using your super-awesome problem-solving skills in the real world.
Just like dynamic, this is another word that sounds amazing, but doesn’t really say anything. Great, you’re not stuck in the past, according to you. Think about any instance in your immediate work history that shows that quality of yours in action.
Responsible… for what? The proof is in the pudding when it comes to responsibility. Elaborate—who made you responsible, how many other people shared this responsibility, did anything challenge your responsibility?
One can argue that a two-year-old has communication skills; after all, they can communicate. The fact that you are able to write a resume proves that you are capable of communicating effectively. Beyond that, your writing samples, cover letter and exchanges with potential employers should prove to them that you are a great communicator.
What does it mean to be professional? Many industries don’t have any strict qualifications (if any) for this label, so is it really necessary for you to tell an employer? Instead of writing about your professionalism, act professionally in the way you interact with an employer.
This is only the beginning of a long list of words your resume doesn’t need. As a rule of thumb, try to avoid frilly adjectives and focus on quantifiable, solid examples of accomplishments and achievements. If you find yourself using the same word over and over again in your resume and cover letter, look for another.
What other words need to be retired from your resume?
Gerrit Hall is the CEO and co-founder of RezScore, a free web application that reads, analyzes, and grades resumes – instantly. Gerrit has successfully combined his passion for computer science and the careers space by helping job seekers write the best resume possible. Gerrit is a regular contributor to the startup advice site Bootstrapper, hosts the “Vital Topics” panel of the Road2Shambala podcast, and spearheaded the 2log competitive blogging platform. You can connect with Gerrit and RezScore on Facebook and Twitter.