You’ve written your resume. You poured a lot of effort into the page that will represent you, and you can’t wait to distribute it far and wide.
Not so fast. Before you send that puppy out, check it for buzzwords. Like “team player.” Or “detail-oriented.” Or “accustomed to fast-paced environments.”
Here’s why you should avoid them: They’re vague. They make your resume look like everyone else’s. They’re probably not among the keywords employers search for. They take up space on your resume that could be used for strong, concrete, specific examples of what you’ve accomplished, the work you’ve produced, and how hiring you would benefit your potential employer. Buzzwords are tired and overused, clichés that have lost their meaning over time.
Most importantly, every buzzword is a lost opportunity.
You want your resume to stand out. The best way to sell yourself is to show, don’t tell. Explain your accomplishments rather than spouting them off in trite ways.
So check your resume for these boilerplate words and phrases. If you find them, replace them—or at the very least, elaborate upon them—with real-life, specific examples.
1. Team player
3. Proven track record of success
5. Excellent communication skills
6. Leadership skills
7. Go-to person
8. Managed cross-functional teams
9. Exceptional organizational skills
11. Results-oriented professional
12. Bottom-line orientated
13. Works well with customers
14. Strong negotiation skills
19. Proven ability
22. Bottom-line focused
23. Responsible for
24. Assisted with
25. Skilled problem solver
26. Accustomed to fast-paced environments
27. Strong work ethic
28. Works well with all levels of staff
29. Met (or exceeded) expectations
30. Savvy business professional
31. Strong presentation skills
32. Looking for a challenging opportunity
36. Seasoned professional
38. Highly skilled
39. Functioned as
40. Duties included
41. Actions encompassed
43. Strategic thinker
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46. Works well under pressure
47. Quick learner
48. Partnered with others
50. Out-of-the-box thinker
Finally, here’s one more phrase you don’t need to include on your resume: “References furnished upon request.” It’s assumed that you’ll offer references if the employer asks, so don’t clutter your resume with those unnecessary words.
Karen Burns is the author of the illustrated career advice book The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use, recently released by Running Press. She blogs at www.karenburnsworkinggirl.com.