The buzzwords of the past don’t do well on resumes. Nor do clichés. These tired words don’t impact the readers. They don’t even mean very much. They’re sometimes seen by irritated people screening job applications as fillers.
They are, to put it less tactfully, useless at best and serious liabilities at worst. The only likely effect of these verbal crocks is to destroy your chances of getting an interview.
Imagine a resume made up entirely of clichés. Great read? Worth reading? Interesting? None of the above; most people won’t bother reading clichés, either.
A few classic resume clichés to avoid
The real horrors are well known, overused, and largely meaningless:
People person: You might get away with this fossil if you can back it up with some useful information. Of itself, it’s no more than your opinion of your own people skills. It’s not a grabber, and it’s not supported by facts. Would you hire someone on that basis? Give an example of your personal skills in a practical context, and you’re telling your readers what they need to know.
Team player: Again, this is your opinion of yourself if you don’t add depth to the information. The expression itself barely qualifies as information. It doesn’t mean anything at all without some worthwhile information about your role in an actual team.
Hard worker: Here’s a coincidence – Everyone claims to be a hard worker. Imagine anyone saying they’re not a hard worker. This is a statement which really doesn’t deliver any information at all, unless you define the work and the “hard” part of the situation.
Dynamic: This word does mean something, but it doesn’t mean you. Dynamics are the factors, processes and operations of a given subject, issue or situation. “Dynamic”, however, as a word doesn’t mean anything at all applied in relation to a person. Avoid the word entirely, unless you want to use it correctly.
Problem solver: This can be a major asset for any resume writing process, provided you can deliver information which shows the value of your problem solving abilities. Like most clichés, it’s otherwise a waste of space, if you don’t. Please note: “problem solving” is a high demand skill set, and if you use this term, expectations are raised. You’ll be expected to live up to your cliché, in fact.
Getting the resume killers out of your resume
There’s only one thing to do with these resume killers. Get them out of your resume, ASAP!
This is how:
- Go through your resume looking for old clichés. Whenever you find them, either remove them or replace them with original expressions.
- Pay particular attention to your skill sets when editing your resume. Any clichés in skills can be a serious own goal, not only wasting space but reducing the value of your other skills by association.
- Remove clichés from your work history and personal profile systematically. You may need to do some extra rewriting, but it’ll be worth it.
Images are taken from: forbesimg.com, experteer-blog.com, exclusive-executive-resumes.com.
For more information on managing resume clichés, see this link.