During a two year period of my life when I was in charge of hiring and firing, it seemed like I was looking at resumes daily.
While some were impressive, some resumes were clearly created a decade ago and hadn’t been updated since. Keeping in mind a resume is designed to highlight your skills, display your accomplishments, and let the hiring personnel learn a little about you all in a matter of seconds, an outdated resume is not a good look.
And when you ask a career coach about your resume, one of the first tall tale signs they will share with you is that while there are buzz words you want to include… some words need to go!
Today, we will look at the words that need to be removed from your resume in a hurry, according to career coaches!
1. Hard Worker
It’s a given you’re a hard worker. Just about every person applying for a new job view themselves as a hard worker who can add value to a company. And while this not an attack on your work ethic – you should work hard – there are better ways to describe yourself.
Hiring managers assume the people they’re going to interview are hard workers; you don’t have to tell them. Instead, communicate results you have created in previous job stops BECAUSE of your hard work.
For example, instead of saying “Very Hard Worker,” you can say something such as, “Integral team member in completing the 45-day rollout of new accounting software under 30 days.”
Real quick, which sounds better:
- I helped with a new project detailing the marketing plan.
- Directed the implementation of a new project detailing the marketing plan
Clearly, the second one sounds better, even though they both mean the same thing. However, your choice of verbs matters because when it comes to a resume, semantics is the difference!
Be sure to scan your resume and remove commonly used verbs such as “Helped” or “Assisted,” and consider adding stronger verbs!
3. Microsoft Office Proficiency
Look, don’t take this the wrong way, but middle school students know how to use the Microsoft Office Suite. PowerPoint, Excel, and Word are a given in this day and age, and when you think about it logically… the resume they’re reading was created by you on Word.
If you have to let them know you know how to use Microsoft Office or that you’re ‘Proficient,’ this means one of two things:
- You’re not too strong with computer/tech skills.
- You have nothing more important to communicate.
Remember, your resume needs to make you stand out, not fit in authentically. Leave off the Microsoft proficiency; it’s not helping these days!
“If your resume is being scanned by an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), however, you have to include these specific keywords somewhere, especially if they are included in the job posting or job description.” says career coach and blogger Amanda Kay. “Otherwise you will not get credit for having these skills, and your application might not make it past the initial screening.”
4. Enthusiastic, Driven, Motivated
When hiring personnel scan a resume to determine if the candidate is worth an interview, they see the words motivated, driven, and enthusiastic countless times.
It is generally assumed you’re a motivated or driven person, and while it doesn’t hurt to let them know you’re eager, doing so doesn’t have to look like you spent most of your time building your resume with Thesauras.com.
Once again, vague and all too common words like enthusiastic don’t describe you and your capabilities. They sound fancy, but not to a hiring manager. Keep this in mind and remember the goal is to convey your strengths.
Pro Tip: Go through your resume and always scan to make sure you don’t use the same verb over and over again. Readers will notice this, so be sure to avoid doing it!
5. “Duties Included.”
Simply regurgitating (listing) your previous job responsibilities and duties isn’t going to wow a resume reader. They know what you did based on your job description/title.
Instead, use this as an opportunity to show off within the concept of describing what you did.
“If you’ve been applying for a while and still can’t find a job, change your duties into accomplishments” Amanda suggests.”Your application will be much stronger and impress hiring managers.”
For example, a teacher might say:
- Worked within a collective learning team to design new approaches to teaching World History 1
- Implemented tiers or learning that promoted individualized learning concepts
- Tracked student progress and monitored academic performance by implementing “Lunch Bunch.”
Not So Well Written List:
- Taught World History 1
- Implemented lesson plans daily
- Communicated with parents on student progress
Ok, bear with me for a second, but telling someone on your resume that you’re ‘Experienced’ is like telling someone on your first date that you’re good looking. By this point, they already know whether or not this is true.
The same goes for your resume.
Once again, you don’t have to let them know you’re experienced by stating it, but instead, you should go about detailing how your experiences can benefit them if they were to hire you!
My objective is to get a job… yes, we get it. The person reading your resume knows your objective is to get an interview, which hopefully lands you a job.
“Your resume is a marketing tool used to show how you meet the qualifications the company is looking for. Including a vague objective statement doesn’t demonstrate what you can do for them.” Amanda Kay explains.
Instead of listing your objective at the top of your resume (old school), list a summary statement that authentically describes you and your job skills!
A well written and short summary statement might read like this:
- A natural communicator who excels in public speaking, motivational leadership, and customer-facing scenarios.
- Integral to daily operations in all areas of client communication, relationship building, and dynamic marketing.
Or you can keep the old objective and increase the chances of your resume getting tossed!
This list is not an end all be all. There may be specific situations where you would want a prospective employer to know you’re hard-working and enthusiastic, and it might just fit.
However, in most cases, there are better, more efficient ways to communicate your experiences, your work ethic, and your enthusiasm without including those exact words on your resume! As we part, do a quick glance test of your resume, make sure it seems specific, and look to eliminate these all too common words!