8 cringeworthy phrases that are ruining your resume

Writing a resume is arguably the most stress-inducing part of the job application process. You only have one page (or less, if you’re using a fancy format) to prove to a hiring manager why they should hire you. As a result, every single word and properly placed comma matters.

Unfortunately, especially if you’ve churned out dozens of resumes in a heated job search, our resume language can get a bit outrageous. These eight cringeworthy phrases are commonly used on job applications — even if everyone in HR hates them — because they’re just such great fillers. If you’ve got any on your application, it’s time to take them out ASAP. We’ve even given you what to say instead.

1. “A proven track record of…”

This phrase is cringeworthy because it spells out something that should be exemplified in your application. Instead of spelling out that you have a record of doing awesome things, skip the intro and get right into concrete examples.

2. “Responsible for…”

Just like the phrase “a proven track record of…,” “responsible for” should be cut for language with substance. As great writers say: Show, don’t tell.

3. “With a passion for…”

Everyone is passionate about their field of work — or they at least pretend to be in their application. Come up for a better reason for what you do than pure passion. Connect your field to your past, your life’s ambitions or your skills rather than sticking to that passion stuff.

4. “Goal-oriented”

If you’re a successful professional, you are goal-oriented. Period. Being able to work towards a goal is like being able to work towards a deadline: It’s the bare minimum. Instead of describing yourself as goal-oriented, find a more descriptive term for your work style.

5. “Team player”

Like being goal-oriented, being a team player is a given. No one is going to write that they are a total jerk on their resume, so you shouldn’t write that you’re a good team member, either. Your references and past experiences speak for themselves on this front. Dedicate your resume space to discussing your objective achievements instead.

6. “Detail-oriented”

The same goes for detail-oriented. Rather than describing yourself with this boring phrase, exemplify this characteristic in the work examples you provide. And make sure you’re really perceived as detail-oriented by proofreading your resume.

7. “Synergy”

Business buzzwords like “synergy” are often misused. And even if they aren’t, they’re often misinterpreted. Stick to plain terms when describing your accomplishments. A down-to-earth read goes a long way.

8. “Excellent communication skills”

This phrase is so general that no one could possibly deduce anything about you from it. Instead of describing yourself as an excellent communicator — something many, many people would say about themselves — list specific skillsets you have around communication. Or, just nail your cover letter and that will say enough.

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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.