10 Expressions that Are Fatal for Your Resume

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Are you sending out resumes day after day without getting any results?

Maybe you have all the right qualifications and you don’t lack will for work. However, there’s something missing. You can’t get an interview because the resume doesn’t impress the HR people.

Elizabeth Johnson, a writer and editor for BestEssays, explains that job applicants are not always aware of the flaws in their resumes: “I am highly professional, competent, and experienced graphic designer. References available on your request. To a first-time job applicant, these sentences seem perfectly suitable for a resume. To an experienced hiring manager, these applicants look like zombies. Everyone is using the same phrases from online templates. You’re not offering something different just by listing education and experience. Your style should also be different if you want to get that interview.”

She has a point. Do you know how many job applications the HR department reviews for a single position? Well, it depends on the company and position, but here’s the answer any HR manager would give you: many. You don’t want to fit into the same mold that makes them bored.

Here are the 10 crucial expressions to avoid if you don’t want to ruin your resume:

1.  Highly motivated leader

Phrases like highly motivated leader don’t impress. Examples of those leadership skills in action, however, might do the trick. Get rid of the highly strategic leader phrase and switch it with actual experiences that don’t tell, but show.

Since 2015, I’ve been leading a team at the Red Cross. So far we’ve managed to get donations for five families to restore their homes.

Now that’s something that shows you as a highly motivated reader, and you’re not even bragging with the phrase.

2. Team player

I am a motivated team player who works well with all levels of staff.

This is a cheap resume filler. Instead of using vague words to tell you’re a good team player, you should show. Mention the projects you took part in and what that teamwork taught you.

3. Result-oriented person

I am a result-oriented person and I work hard to meet all goals.

If you take a look at all resumes an organization gets, you’ll notice this expression in most of them. It’s a plain filler. You are not saying anything about yourself with this phrase; the hiring manager knows you’re using it just to put more words in your resume when you have nothing important to say.

4. Graduated with high GPA

I graduated from college four years ago with 3.4 GPA.

Unless you graduated within the last year, you shouldn’t include the GPA in the resume, no matter how high it was. If you graduated more than two years ago, you should emphasize the work experience, not the education.

Believe it or not, employers don’t care about your GPA, unless you’re applying for an entry position and you don’t have experience they can evaluate.

5. References available on your request

You don’t want to invite the hiring manager to ask for references. You should provide them anyway. Include references in the job application, so you’ll avoid making the employer frustrated.

6. Detail-oriented person

This is another cliché that all resume templates include. Hiring managers have been seeing this phrase in resumes for so long that it has lost its meaning for them. Of course you want to mention your ability to be very focused and detailed when you do your job, but find a more creative way to do that.

7. Great communication skills

A person with great communication skills wouldn’t say I have great communication skills. They will communicate that message throughout the whole resume.

What chances did you have to benefit from those communication skills? Did you land great deals for the company you used to work for? Are you a marketing specialist who does wonders in communicating with social media audience? Mention that.

8. Rock star

I am a rock star content writer with the creative skills you need.

Since people are aware they should infuse some creativity in their resumes, phrases like rock star and kick-butt have become clichés. First of all, this is casual language that may be suitable for a very creative niche, such as graphic design, but is outrageous in the eyes of most HR managers. If you want a serious job, you need to show you’re a serious person. Repeating rock-star phrases doesn’t do you well.

9. Strong work ethic

With phrases like this, you’re trying to convince the employer to believe you, but you don’t provide any support for the claims. Instead of using this cliché phrase, you can explain a situation that helped you show your strong work ethic. Maybe you were pressured by a deadline for an important project and you motivated everyone to work overnight to get it done? Show, don’t tell!

10. Best, greatest, most talented

There’s one word that explains what you’re doing with these adjectives: exaggerating. Can you prove you’re the best fit for the job? How do you know you’re the greatest and most talented job applicant of all? Be realistic and write a serious resume!

Now that you know what phrases to avoid, you’re closer to writing a good resume. During the editing stage, make sure to get rid of all exaggerations and expressions that would ruin the impression.  

Written By
Brenda Savoie is a Productivity Coach,content marketing magician, and desperate dreamer, writing her first romantic novel, and also seeking contentment through mindfulness. Find her on Twitter and Facebook

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