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10 Expressions that Ruin Your Resume

10 Expressions that Ruin Your Resume

Do you keep sending resumes for the jobs you want, but you’re not getting any responses? You have relevant experience and skills for those positions, but something is wrong. What’s missing? It’s time for the realization: you’re not getting the calls because the resume isn’t impressive.

When writing about ourselves, we just think the content is perfect. We’re confident in our expertise and we just list dry data in the resume, thinking that the hiring manager will get the point. Camelia Moore, a resume writer from UK writing service, explains: “Dry lists of educational and work experience seem perfectly fine to most job applicants. That’s what the resume is for, after all, right? However, an experienced recruiter or hiring manager will find such a resume boring. They are looking at dozens of those applications every single day. All of the applicants seem the same. If you don’t offer something beyond the same old expressions, you won’t be noticed.”

That was pretty straightforward, right? You can’t expect the cliches to work. The competition for every single position on the market is extreme. When you’re writing a resume for the military, there’s not much space for creativity. A civilian job, however, demands a more flexible approach. This is the main rule to keep in mind: don’t make the reader bored.

Now, onto our main point: are there any particular cliches you should be avoiding? There sure are! We’ll list 10 expressions that can ruin your resume.

Most talented person, greatest discipline, best worker

Do not exaggerate! The resume should convey your skills and interests, as well as your personality. You may think you’re the best applicant, but let the hiring manager be the judge of that. After all, you have no idea who the other applicants are, so how can you claim to be the best one? Be realistic. This should be a serious resume that presents you as a true professional.

Rock star

I’m a rock star achiever with awesome creativity skills.

Do you notice what’s wrong with that sentence? It’s not creative. People have been using phrases like kick-butt and rock star so much that they became absolute cliches. Maybe the terms would be suitable for someone applying for a job in graphic design, marketing, or another creative niche. However, even the hiring managers for those jobs are getting tired of such forced creativity.  

Attention to details

A detailed-oriented person or a person with great attention to details - those are phrases that you’ll find in almost every resume template. That’s exactly what’s wrong: everyone is using them. You’ll want to find a more creative way to mention your ability to notice and focus on details. 

High GPA

No one cares. If you just graduated, it’s okay to mention the high GPA, since you lack job experience the hiring manager can evaluate. Otherwise, just emphasize your experience with military and civilian jobs and responsibilities. Don’t put the focus on education; that’s not what most employers are interested in.

Great at teamwork

I am an inspired team player.

I am great at teamwork with all staff levels.

Just… no. This is one of the most obvious resume fillers: when you don’t know what to say, say you’re a team player. Instead of telling these things with words, you should show you’re a good team player. Just mention the team projects you contributed to and explain what they taught you.

Strong discipline

I am a worker with strong discipline.

I have strong work ethics.

These phrases are not convincing. They are just statements. Instead of using them as fillers in the resume, simply explain the situations where you showed discipline and work ethics.

Advanced communication skills

What does it mean to have advanced communication skills, anyway? How advanced are they? Is there a scale? Skip this part. You don’t have to claim you have great communication skills. The hiring manager has the whole resume and cover letter to evaluate them. If you want to be specific, you can list experiences that put you in direct communication with different categories of people. Do you have experience in maintaining social media accounts? That’s an important communication skill to mention, too.

References will be provided on request

This is what this looks like in the eyes of a potential employer: “If you like what you see, make an effort to find out more about me. If not, who cares!” The hiring manager won’t appreciate being forced to ask for references. You should always provide them with your job application, just in case.

Result-driven person

I am a result-driven person. I’m always on schedule and I work hard to meet goals.

This is a vague statement that doesn’t prove anything. Anyone could say the same thing about themselves, but that won’t make it true. This expression is present in almost all resumes that hiring managers get. It’s an obvious filler and it doesn’t make you look good.

Motivated leader

I am a highly motivated leader.

I’ve been part of Red Cross missions since 2012. The teams that I led managed to get donations for restoring the homes of over 100 families and 400 individuals.

What do you think: which one of these statements shows a motivated leader? Of course, it’s the second one. The first one is a vague, egocentric statement. The second one is an example that shows. Get rid of the phrases that tell and switch them with experiences that show. That’s the main lesson to learn when you want to craft the perfect resume. 

Now you know: some of the most common phrases that applicants use in resumes simply don’t work. When an employer sees such cliches, they get the impression that the applicant is boring and uncreative. The fact that such resumes are based on templates is obvious.

Fortunately, you came across this article before sending the resume. If you already wrote it, polish it and remove the above-listed statements. Remember: it’s always wise to get a second opinion. We can’t be unbiased when judging our resumes' quality.

About the author: Joan Selby is a content marketer and passionate blogger, a former teacher, and a fancy shoe lover. A writer by day and a reader by night. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.