The most useless phrases in your resume
Looking for ways to make your resume stand out? Here’s a tip: don’t rely on words like self-starter, flexible, hard worker, team player, or highly qualified. If you do your resume may get lost in the shuffle. These types of words and phrases are way overused, according to a recent survey by OfficeTeam.
The survey asked the question “what is the most overused and meaningless phrase you see on resumes?” to 1300 senior managers working at companies with 20 or more employees, The words listed above plus the phrases ‘problem solver’ and ‘people person’, pop up so often on resumes that they’re no longer helping candidates stand out. Amanda Evans from OfficeTeam says that “there’s only so many times an employer can see the same words and phrases on the 50 – 100 resumes he/she has to go through before they start looking the same.”
The survey’s findings suggest that managers would rather read resumes that tell more of a story about the candidate. “Job seekers don’t need a complete resume overhaul, but if you’re using these terms use them in specific instances that reveal how you’re a self-starter, or high qualified. Give an employer some examples,” says Evans.
Another key component of writing a stand out resume is to look closely at the job description. Take note of the language and words used in the description and use them in your resume. “Employers often use keyword searches to scan through online resumes. They’re looking for words and descriptions that are specific to the job,” says Evans. Those keywords are usually in the description. Use them to replace some common terms and then elaborate. It is more likely your resume is going to get noticed if the language you use matches the language used by the company.
This also means tailoring your resume to the job you’re applying to. It’s certainly a lot of work to change a resume every time you apply for a new a position, but it is a necessary process. Another benefit to going through the description closely and altering your resume to fit is that you are essentially preparing yourself for a potential interview. You’ll have already done the work in pointing to a few specific areas that qualify you for the position. In an interview, you can elaborate on the points already made.
If you are including some of these overused terms on your resume, OfficeTeam offers some suggestions for how to make them stand out.
OfficeTeam’s tips on using overused terms:
Highly Qualified: Don’t just say it, show it. Describe for the hiring manager what you bring to the role. Emphasize skills and note certifications you have earned.
Hard Worker: Everyone has her or his own idea about what this term means. Explain how you’ve gone the extra mile, like meeting tough deadlines or how you tackled tasks outside your job description.
Team Player: Give an example for how you partnered with a colleague to get a job done.
Click here for more OfficeTeam examples. But remember, use the company’s language and tell them your story. By doing so you’re sure to stand out.