9 overused words and phrases to avoid on a resume

Recruiters only spend about 7 seconds skimming a resume so you want to make sure you use the correct turns of phrase to keep their attention and call you for that coveted interview.

Indeed partnered up with some career experts from recruiting website Monster to make note of unnecessary words or phrases to omit when you’re updating your resume. Make sure you keep an updated version live on LinkedIn to give you a better chance at finding gainful employment.

Here are 9 words to avoid completely when selling your strengths to future employers. Instead of these cliche descriptors, career experts recommend the following in this recent brief.

“Choose action-oriented phrases that show rather than tell why you should be considered. For example, instead of saying that you’re a “results-driven team player that delivers impactful results,” hiring managers want to see something like, “I developed a streamlined delivery process that reduced revenue slip by 20%.”

1. Go-getter

This is a big one to avoid, folks. The fact that you are a go-getter is implied, especially since you are going for a better position in your field, no? Instead of claiming you’re a go-getter lead with an example of how you demonstrated this attitude in the field through taking on more responsibilities or brokering a big deal with a client. Self-starter also falls under this umbrella.

2. Think outside the box

You know when you hear a phrase so much it begins to lose all of its meaning? Any recruiters that see “think outside the box” immediately discount this claim. Someone will be more likely to hire you if you give a concrete example of how you thought outside the box. Here’s an example for you, “ I used what I learned in mindful-meditation practices to exercise the patience and control needed to successfully finish a course in coding. I then applied those new skills to make a better website for our company.”

3. Team player

This phrase is supremely overused on resumes. Instead of simply claiming to be a team player, use an example of one of your more impressive collaborative efforts in the past that helped your company. If you’re unsure of an example, reach out to old bosses or coworkers to figure out which example shows you in the most flattering light. It’s important to demonstrate the value you’d bring to a new company based on past experience and actions.

4. Wheelhouse

It is vital to avoid overused business lingo like wheelhouse and synergy on your resume. It is a much more effective tactic to use plain, concise language that cuts to the core of the values you will be able to bring to the table. Using succinct phrases like “my specific skill set in (blank) will have a demonstrated value to the (blank) department I’m applying for.” Your skills and core values serve as a backdrop for the industry you’re trying to break into so try to be specific.

5. Dabbled

Do not claim to have the experience you’re not well versed in. If you’re going for a challenging new role in graphic design claiming you dabbled in Adobe photoshop in college makes you look insincere and that you’re “puffing up” your true skill set. This will plant the seed of doubt in the recruiter’s head that “maybe this person is hyperbolizing everything they are proficient in.”

6. Rockstar

This is a recent new phrase that has made the cut for things to avoid putting on your resume. Unless you happen to actually be in the entertainment industry it comes off artificial and overambitious. In a recent interview with recruiting site Monster, Josh Goldstein, co-founder of Underdog.io adds, “You may see words like ‘ninja’ or ‘rockstar’ in a hiring ad, but if you don’t, definitely don’t use them in your resume, it makes you sound pretentious. It demonstrates that the person doesn’t get it and probably lacks creativity. Instead of saying you’re good at something, show it.”

7. Strong work ethic

This sort of phrase goes without saying, no really, it’s not necessary to put on your resume and here’s why. Having a strong work ethic is implied–and to be honest expected–from any company you’re trying to work for. This sort of phrase reads as filler for employees that ran out of things to say to sell themselves to a recruiter.

8. High technical aptitude

Having a demonstrated history of all things tech is invaluable especially in a workforce gone remote. However, a non-specific phrase that doesn’t go into the particular software applications you have demonstrated experience utilizing on the job means nothing to employers. Marketing recruiter Wes Lieser explains why this particular phrase frustrates him in this press release.

“It’s just not something that needs to be said. It actually makes me assume that you don’t fully understand what you are doing. This is comparable to a baseball pitcher telling someone that he or she can throw a baseball. It goes without saying.”

9. Detail-oriented

Sure you are one to pay attention to the minutiae of everyday operations. This is a desirable trait, especially as an accountant, but merely claiming you are detail-oriented without concrete examples of the things you did or programs you used to organize company information this descriptor is essentially useless. Maybe explain how catching one rogue bookkeeping error saved your company millions of dollars or helped avoid a lawsuit? This kind of information demonstrates the value you will bring to the company you just applied for.