10 Overused Buzzwords to Avoid on Your Resume

Most job-seekers can recite the well-known rules for writing a resume: focus on your strengths, use “action words” to describe your key tasks, and be concise but thorough – at the same time.   While these steps can make your resume sharper and more focused, they can also turn off hiring managers who are tired of seeing the same buzzwords on every resume.

How can you avoid these overused buzzwords and craft a resume that really shows what you have to offer?  First, stick to the famous rule for all writers: “show, don’t tell.”  Focus on describing, in accurate, vivid terms, exactly what you did on the job.  Your “creative” or “organized” side will stand out in descriptions of how you re-engineered a manufacturing process to run in 20 percent less time or planned a major corporate event – without you ever having to say (or type) those words.

Here are the top ten overused words to avoid on your resume:

  • Creative.  This is one of the most overused words in recent years, according to many hiring managers.  Instead of saying “creative,” describe a project that required you to use creative thinking and how you tackled it.
  • Organized.  A well-laid-out resume hints at organization without having to say it.  So do accomplishments like streamlining service delivery or completing key projects on schedule.
  • Effective.  Instead, describe your professional successes: they speak volumes of your “effectiveness” at work.
  • Extensive experience.  Your resume is a summary of your key professional experiences.  Let it demonstrate you have “extensive experience” by listing your biggest triumphs and years of service.
  • Track record.  Even if your resume lists only a handful of your biggest accomplishments, don’t sum up the rest with a tired phrase like “track record.”  Instead, plan to share some of these stories in your interview, or relate one or two especially relevant ones in your cover letter.
  • Motivated.  Not only is “motivated” overused, according to hiring managers, it’s hard to tell what it means – for instance, are you “motivated” by a passion for your work or by a paycheck?  Instead, demonstrate your motivation by describing times you went above and beyond, either in your resume or in a cover letter.
  • Innovative.  Like “creative,” this word is so overused it means little to most hiring managers.  Also, like “creative,” it is better shown with an example than simply stated.
  • Problem-solving.  It’s important to be able to solve problems on the job; it’s even more important to demonstrate you can solve the kind of problems faced by people in the position you’re applying for.
  • Communication skills.  Strike “communication skills” from your resume in favor of describing particular skills, experience, and projects you’ve conquered.  Your communication skills will be obvious from your vivid writing, and you’ll have extra space to describe your best work.
  • Dynamic.  Once meant to connote momentum and energy, “dynamic” has lost its luster from simple overuse.  Instead, think of your career as a single, unified path, and draw connections between each job you’ve held.  This will give the same impression of forward momentum, but without the tired phrasing.

At Marquee Staffing, our experienced recruiters will help you write a resume that stands out for all the right reasons.  We’ll also match you with jobs that are a great fit for your skills, experience, and career goals.  Contact us today to learn more!

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