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25 Resume Words To Avoid

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CNN briefly touched on the topic of resumes earlier this month by giving some standard, but useful, advice with respect to what you put on your resume, including twenty five words you should avoid. Essentially they suggest that you should drop general terms about yourself or what you experienced in favor of specific things you did:

Instead of… “Experience working in fast-paced environment”

Try… “Registered 120+ third-shift emergency patients per night”

Personally, I always find it hard to write the Objective part of the resume (mine reads something generic about ‘wanting to find a software development position that utilizes by technical and leadership skills’) and I think they’d give a pass at generic words there but my work experience hardly ever has any ‘personality buzzwords.’ I figured I’ll put what I did and if it’s something they’re looking for, they’ll bring me in and learn about my personality and it seems to have worked out pretty well so far.

As for the words to avoid: Aggressive, Ambitious, Competent, Creative, Detail-oriented, Determined, Efficient, Experienced, Flexible, Goal-oriented, Hard-working, Independent, Innovative, Knowledgeable, Logical, Motivated, Meticulous, People person, Professional, Reliable, Resourceful, Self-motivated, Successful, Team player and Well-organized.

Story via CNN.

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10 Responses to “25 Resume Words To Avoid”

  1. Around The Blogs

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  2. FMF says:

    I prefer:

    1. Points that start with action words: “Developed, created, led, etc.”

    2. Quantifiable results. (i.e. “Led cost-reduction team to delivering unprecedented $2.1 million annual savings.”)

  3. anthony says:

    Quantify your skills statements
    Qualify your statements
    State accomplishments
    numbers numbers numbers and what I did for the last company!

    *designed and implemented new inventory procedures, reducing labour costs by 32% (verbs and benefit)

    *balanced financial transactions in excess of 1.5 million monthly sales (verb , qualifying, implying responsibility and accuratacy)

    produced annual stockholders reports utilizing MS Word, Excel and in house database (verb, computer skills, analytical, data compilation)

    analyzed current market trends and created new marketing campaign generating revenues in excess of $100,000 (verb, innovative, creative, seeking improvement)

    6 years experience staff trainer (accomplishment)

    I am an employment counsellor and do resume workshops. Usually by the time I am half way through my workshop, clients are busy modifying their statements to create stronger impact. Their resumes soon reflect what they can do for you, the employer. Get them to think in employer mode, How does this skill benefit me? What sets this statement above all the other mediocre resumes. What have they accomplished in the past that was beneficial to my company.
    Get the client to TELL the employer why they are the right candidate, demonstrate exactly how they will add to the company…don’t force the employer to make the connection, answer these questions on paper.

  4. anthony says:

    2 words I detest seeing in a resume

    Capable
    Able to

  5. Wilma says:

    What do they want me to say? How can I say what my qualifications are without those words when those words have been jammed down my throat by the factory jobs I’ve had? I don’t know how office jobs are but on the manufacturing floor buzz words are shoved at us to get more out of us and create that team work like – cough cough – atmosphere. Why more and more manufacturers are requiring a resume with an application is beyond me. I’m not 20 any more and I’m lost in this new world of job searching. I can write reasonably intelligent sentences but I’m not college educated. Why do they need me to write an award winning resume just to run a machine or clean that machine? I can run, tear down and repair manufacturing machinery but writing a resume and sending it via e-mail scares the hell out of me.

  6. echidnina says:

    Very interesting… I think my resume contains more than a few of these words! I’m going to have to tweak it. It seriously needs updating anyway.

  7. Ian says:

    quantification is relative. Only percentages-and only those which can be directly linked to you at that- really mean anything.
    Anyway I wish ppl would look thru the bs and actively try to asses wether a person is qual’d for the job, not how slick the resume is written– unless you are hiring a person who should be good at slick resume writing. I think too many ppl get hired based on things that have little to do w their jobs.

  8. Krista says:

    No wonder I haven’t got any responses!Right now I am a preschool teacher but I am trying to get into the medical feild. I am in college earning my M.A and have taken several classes but no degree yet. How can I write a good resume if I am moving from one feild to another?? All my experience and accomplishments have nothing to do with what I want to do. I am just trying to get my foot in the door somewhere as an office receptionist or scheduling. Can anyone help me?

  9. anthony says:

    @Krista:

    You need to look at your skills that apply to a receptionist position.

    List, demonstrate where you used organization skills, communications skills, multi-tasking, planning and organizing in your previous jobs (teacher). Good lord, the amount of time management and planning you need in a class room is one heck of an asset to any organization. Your skill set comes from all walks of life, not just your previous employment.
    When I entered the Employment Counselling field I had no experience in this area. I sold myself on my volunteer work, TA at college, scout leader, taught sign language course, organized volunteer events, worked with groups in Scouts and AA. This is what I sold to the employer…my ability to work with groups and instruct, yet I had no paid work in this area.


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