Your resume is your first foot in the door to a new job. But before any potential employer has the chance to see you shine in person, you’ve got to wow them with words on a page.
The wrong words on your resume will make you forgettable, but the right words can bring you to the top of the pile of resumes.
Showcasing your true talents and relevant experience on your resume can be a challenge. It’s hard to know what to say and how to say it.
Though it may be tempting, loading your resume with meaningless or irrelevant buzzwords could detract from your true accomplishments.
That’s why we’ve rounded up some words that can kill your resume — and your shot at landing your dream job.
Be Specific, Not Generic
Generic descriptors like “people person” are overused, so recruiters are likely to skim right past them.
Additionally, these types of cliche phrases are impossible to prove — you could consider yourself “highly qualified” or a “team player” (two phrases that should be avoided), but your potential employer will be looking for specific evidence to support these claims. In other words, show, don’t tell.
Find ways to quantify your accomplishments or describe responsibilities that have more solid proof. Rambling off your list of daily to-dos, essentially regurgitating your job description, won’t help you as much as showing how you’ve gone above and beyond.
For example, “Utilized innovative social media marketing techniques to increase sales by 12%” will have a much greater impact than, “Utilized social media marketing techniques.”
Quantifying will show your potential employer exactly what you can bring to the table and how you’ll be a key player on their team.
Other overly common resume buzzwords that detract from your quality resume (and should therefore be avoided) include:
- Best of breed
- Extensive experience
- Proven or demonstrated ability
Accomplishments Over Duties
Phrases like “responsible for” and “duties included” are less-than-impressive details. Job duties were given to you — they’re not achievements. Your resume should tell the stories of your accomplishments, not just your day-to-day responsibilities.
Additionally, these superfluous lead-ins clutter the page and hide your relevant experience. Get to the point, and use strong active verbs to describe your achievements.
No Personal Pronouns
The recruiter reviewing your resume knows you’re speaking about yourself, so personal pronouns like “I,” “me,” “my,” “we” or “our” detract from your point.
For example, instead of saying “I was responsible for training our interns to meet our sales objectives,” write “Trained interns to meet and exceed sales objectives.” Bonus points if you can add some specific numbers or stats to prove your success in a concrete way.
Exchange Objective for Experience
Instead of telling recruiters about what you want, use the space at the top to showcase your experience. Make sure it is relevant to the role you are interested in, and include relevant keywords that will help you rank higher in applicant tracking systems.
Does the job require experience with a content calendar or content management system? Maybe the ideal candidate is described as having impressive sales numbers or management and training skills.
Whatever the listed requirements, make sure you highlight how your experience directly applies to the job ad, rather than wasting time with an objective. Potential employers already know you want the job — your resume is your opportunity to prove to them why you deserve it.
Build Your Perfect Resume
Ready to put these new lessons to the test? Build your resume today to take the first step towards nailing your dream job.