5 Phrases That Kill Your Resume

 In Resumes and Cover Letters

5 Phrases That Kill Your ResumeAlthough your resume alone won’t land that new position for you, it is a very important piece of the job search process.  After all, your resume is typically the first thing that employers see about you.  In most cases, before the employer meets with you to get a visual, verbal, and nonverbal impression of you, your resume must pass muster with the recruiters.  In a competitive job market, your resume is often your calling card to career success.

Given this reality, you need to know what types of phrases are likely to turn the recruiter off and make that person move on to another candidate.

Here are some words that need to be eliminated from the resume because they can be perceived negatively:

1) Responsible for. This phrase is very passive and does not accurately convey what you did. When you use a phrase like responsible for, it is unclear to the reader if you did the work yourself or if you managed it. It is much better to use strong action words like directed, managed, or led.

2) References available upon request. It is now passé to use this phrase on the resume. It is assumed that you as a job seeker will furnish your references at the time of the interview if you are asked for them.  Since this phrase used to be standard on resumes but is no longer necessary, you can date yourself by using it.

3) Hard-working. This term is so overworked that it has lost its meaning. Just about everyone says that he or she is hard working. When describing yourself on the resume, use terms that are more precise and have more impact (i.e., motivated, accomplished, or award-winning). And make sure that you substantiate your claims in the professional experience section of the resume.

4) Loyal and dependable. The term loyal is also overused. It is not easily substantiated in the experience section on your resume.  And every worker should be dependable, so this word doesn’t add value to the resume either.

5) Exceptional. This is a subjective phrase, and the problem with it is that it sounds too self congratulatory.  You are better served using terms that are more objective in nature that don’t make you sound arrogant.

Cheryl Palmer is a career expert who has regularly been quoted in The Ladders, the Wall Street Journal, CBS MoneyWatch, and CNN Money.  She is a career coach, resume writer, and LinkedIn expert.  Download 5 Master Strategies to Land a Job Through Social Media at www.calltocareer.com.

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