While business buzzwords like “synergy” feel very official while you’re typing them out, using certain popular terms and phrases can actually hurt your chances of getting hired, according to Jason Walker and Ian Scott, two recruiters cited by Seek.
Here are the five words that make them toss an application, why they’re especially peevish and what to say instead.
Walker notes that nothing on your job application is “obvious.” This is likely your first-time “meeting” the company, and the burden is on you to prove out all parts of your application. Rather than implying the company should understand anything about you, take the time and energy to make your claims material by providing supporting facts and figures in your resume and cover letter.
While “we” is great to use when you’re communicating with a team, Walker says using “we” during the job search process isn’t direct enough.
“The word ‘I’ is always better. The interviewer doesn’t want to hear ‘we did XYZ in our department.’ The interviewer wants to know what part you played in the success and how you took ownership,” he said.
Despite popular belief to the contrary, no one wants to hire a workaholic. These folks are the most likely to burn themselves out, lash out and complain. In fact, most recruiters would prefer you speak to the boundaries you set for yourself and how you accomplish great things despite these boundaries. Instead of citing being a workaholic as your weakness at work, Seek suggests citing “a nice to have skill you could develop such as public speaking or not delegating enough.”
Don’t fall into the trap of saying you “love challenges.” According to Scott, this is an empty claim that usually isn’t followed up well.
“Rarely do people follow this up with a good explanation of what challenges them or even examples of challenges they have met, their reaction to the challenge at hand and the result of their response,” he said.
5. “Motivated by change”
While flexibility is, of course, a coveted skill, saying you’re “motivated by change” requires a thorough story. Otherwise, the claim falls flat — and sounds anything but interesting. Why? Of course, you’re motivated by change! You’re trying to make a big change right now, according to Scott.
“In my experience, many people become active job-seekers because they have experienced change,” he said.
A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, the largest career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.