16 Words and Phrases You Should Never Have on Your Resume
Leaving weak words and phrases on your resume takes up valuable space. Here’s what to delete—and what to add—to improve your chances of landing the job.
Summaries tend to list those soft skills and vague descriptions you now know to keep off your resume, so leave the self-praise section off, says Hurwitz. “No employer cares what an applicant thinks of themselves,” he says. “Employers only want to know what an applicant has done for other employers.” Replace the summary with “Select Accomplishments,” using a few bullet points to highlight your biggest, most relevant achievements, Hurwitz suggests. Those proven successes will immediately catch the reader’s eye.
Watch out for acronyms your company uses but that others might not, says executive recruiter and coach Suzanne O’Brien. Even if the abbreviation is standard in your industry, spell it out if you’re switching careers or aren’t 100 percent confident the reader will know what you’re talking about—a hiring manager won’t take the time to look up words on your resume. Also, double check your resume for words that are specific to your current job and not the one you’re applying for so the reader doesn’t need to connect the dots for you, says O’Brien. “If you’re interested in moving from a marketing role in higher education to a marketing role in the travel industry, you’ll want to reference ‘consumers’ or ‘customers’ instead of ‘students’ on your resume,” she says. Find out how to secretly apply for jobs while you’re still employed.
Willing to try…
You might be excited to try a new responsibility, but don’t mention the specific tasks your “quick learning” could help you learn. Not only does it highlight gaps in your skill set, but it could actually imply laziness instead of eagerness. “Expressing a willingness to try specific things suggests that there are tasks and responsibilities at which you would balk,” says Masterson. “You should be open to anything and everything in order to get the job.” If you’re applying, the hiring manager assumes you’re willing to do everything the job description requires.
Email or phone
Simply include your phone number and email at the top of your resume, without including the word “phone” or “email,” says Poisson. It will already be obvious what they are. Use these 10 savvy ways to become indispensable at work and let the compliments roll in.
Practically any employee works on a team in some capacity, but if your interpersonal skills are particularly strong, find examples to prove it, says Mastic. These won’t necessarily be number-driven, so you might need to get creative. Make note of when you’re informally recognized at a meeting or when co-workers make a flattering comment about how easy you are to work with, she suggests. Those quotes will show your team agrees you’re a team player—and that’s what matters.
“Your resume should zero in on your field of interest, detailing the path you’ve taken and the extra steps you’ve made to stand out,” says Magas. As a potential employer is reading through it, the fact that you’re a passionate, motivated, go-getter should be obvious. Next, don’t miss these other nine resume mistakes that could cost you the job.