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25 Words That Can Hurt Your Resume…

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During these down economic times, job seekers are faced with a much stronger applicant pool and one a set of employers that are being much more selective than ever before. As a result, it is essential that you do everything you can to best market your skills and experiences that is not only tailored to each position you are applying for, but also provides “proof” of your experiences and skills.

Often, when job seekers try to sell themselves to potential employers, they load their résumés with vague claims that are transparent to hiring managers, according to Scott Bennett, author of “The Elements of Résumé Style” (AMACOM). We all can say we have excellent communication skills, but can we prove it? By contrast, the most successful job seekers avoid these vague phrases on their résumés in favor of accomplishments. Instead of making empty claims to demonstrate your work ethic, use concise, specific examples to demonstrate your skills. In other words, show, don’t tell.

Here are a few examples:

Instead of… “Experience working in fast-paced environment”
Try… “Registered 120+ third-shift emergency patients per night”

Instead of… “Excellent written communication skills”
Try… “Wrote jargon-free User Guide for 11,000 users”

Instead of… “Team player with cross-functional awareness”
Try… “Collaborated with clients, A/R and Sales to increase speed of receivables and prevent interruption of service to clients.”

Instead of… “Demonstrated success in analyzing client needs”
Try… “Created and implemented comprehensive needs assessment mechanism to help forecast demand for services and staffing.”

The worst offenders
It’s good to be hard-working and ambitious, right? The hiring manager won’t be convinced if you can’t provide solid examples to back up your claims. Bennett suggests being extra-careful before putting these nice-sounding but empty words in your résumé.

  • Aggressive
  • Ambitious
  • Competent
  • Creative
  • Detail-oriented
  • Determined
  • Efficient
  • Experienced
  • Flexible
  • Goal-oriented
  • Hard-working
  • Independent
  • Innovative
  • Knowledgeable
  • Logical
  • Motivated
  • Meticulous
  • People person
  • Professional
  • Reliable
  • Resourceful
  • Self-motivated
  • Successful
  • Team player
  • Well-organized

Your resume is by far one of the most important documents you will ever create, and it is this document that is your ticket to the interview. By proving you have the skills and experiences they are seeking, you will be on your way to successful job search experience.


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