When looking for a candidate, employers have to screen through hundreds or even thousands of resumes and cover letters. Imagine how annoying it must be to see the same vague terms being used over and over again. If you want your resume to stand out from the pile, you need to make sure that you make every word count. You can start by removing these ten phrases:
1. Results-oriented. Don’t tell them that you’re results oriented; show them. Provide examples of your workplace achievements.
2. Team player. Everybody uses this phrase on their resume and it’s largely meaningless. Most employers will assess your teamwork skills during the interview. The best approach is to come to the interview with strong examples.
3. Responsible for. Nobody cares what you were responsible for in your job; employers are more interested in what you have achieved. Load up your resume with specific, quantifiable accomplishments.
4. References available upon request. Don’t waste space on your resume telling the employer that you have references; they are already assuming that you do. Without references, you will never get hired.
5. Problem solver. This is another vague and meaningless phrase. Instead, outline some of the specific problems that you have solved.
6. Strong. This word is too relative. What is strong to you may be weak to the employer. Share some of your quantifiable accomplishments with the employer and let them decide if you are strong.
7. Detail-oriented. Another general and cliche term. If this personality trait is important to the job, then provide examples that illustrate it in the interview.
8. Highly-skilled. Don’t tell them how skilled you are, provide examples that show off your skills.
9. Reliable. Since there is an expectation that you will be reliable, it is not something that you should be bragging about. If you want to tell employers that you are reliable, provide examples that demonstrate it in your interview.
10. Microsoft Office. Unless it is directly related to the position, or your skills are particularly advanced, don’t go into too much detail outlining your Microsoft Office skills. Most employers will expect that you are able to use MS Word, Excel and Power Point.
If you haven’t been getting good results from your resume, it may be time to give it a make over. Start off by purging your resume of useless phrases and then move on from there. Sometimes all you need to do is eliminate the clutter and the employer will be able to see what you have to offer.
(Written by: Karen Bivand)