8, 10, MANY Resume Words to Avoid

Your resume should avoid any word or phrase that is subjective, unverifiable and unquantifiable.

resume words and phrases 300x199There are eight words no resume should include because they’re “fluffy,” says Tina Brasher, a certified professional resume writer.

Actually, there are 10 resume words to avoid, according to recent research from LinkedIn Analytics.

Really, there are hundreds of words and phrases to avoid. Brasher culled her list of “phrases and words that ‘resume readers have seen 10 million times’ and that will lose their attention.” LinkedIn’s analysis isn’t exactly words to avoid, but words overused – the 10 phrases that occur most often in it’s vast database of resumes and user profiles. In reality, your resume should avoid any word or phrase that is subjective, unverifiable and unquantifiable. And the list is long. From Brasher:

Resume readers want to know specifics relating to the bottom line, Brasher said. “What they want to get out of a resume is 1) How can you make the company money? and 2) How can you save the company money?” [Brasher] said. “They’re looking for a resume not only for that but, ‘Are you qualified for the job opening I posted?’ And, ‘What’s your skill set? How did you make a positive difference in the company you just left? How are you different and more valuable as an employee from John Smith whose resume I just read or John Doe whose resume I’m about to read?’

The best advice we’ve found comes from certified professional resume writers like Brasher, Andrew Pearl and Tina Harlan, is to make your resume sizzle with strong active verbs as well as characterizations and accomplishments in objective, quantifiable terms, according to a story from Ladders Career Advice.

Resumes can describe those actions in two different ways: They can limp anemically across the document and put hiring managers to sleep, or they can jump off the page and grab the recruiter’s attention, inspiring him to reach for the phone to schedule an interview.

Active verbs can inspire recruiters and hiring managers to follow through with scheduling an interview. They can make your resume pop, letting employers know that you Addressed, Advertised, Arbitrated, Arranged, Articulated, Authored, Clarified, Collaborated, Communicated, Demonstrated or Diagnosed.

Resume writers Steve Burdan and Mary Schumacher counter the weak resume words with 10 resume action verbs you should use on your resume: collaborated, clarified, authored/generated, diagnosed, enrich, fortify, forge, transform and galvanize.

Now the bad…

Tina Brasher’s 8 resume words to avoid (in no particular order):

    • Highly qualified
    • Results focused
    • Effectual leader
    • Has talent for
    • Energetic
    • Confident
    • Professional
    • Successfully

LinkedIn’s Top 10 profile buzzwords:

  • Extensive experience
  • Innovative
  • Motivated
  • Results-oriented
  • Dynamic
  • Proven track record
  • Team player
  • Fast-paced
  • Problem solver
  • Entrepreneurial