Avoid These Words on Your Resume

Nancy Anderson
Posted by

Your actions during your job search significantly impacts your opportunities in the professional world. Your professional resume, especially, provides details of your skills and experience, and the words you use in these documents matter. Present yourself in the best possible light by avoiding the following types of words or phrases on your resume and application materials.


The key to creating a professional resume that impresses hiring managers is to show originality. If you include clichés that are overused, hiring managers might thing you put minimal effort into crafting your document and resorted to using common wording found on many resume templates. Avoid common clichés, such as "outside of the box" or "strong leader," when writing your cover letter and resume. Instead, get specific. Reference your accomplishments in previous positions. If you truly do think outside of the box when solving problems, provide evidence of this by detailing a scenario or specific sales numbers and statistics that support your claim.


It's best to avoid using pronouns such as "he" or "she" when crafting your professional resume. Even referencing yourself directly in first person using "I" isn't a good idea. Instead of writing "I was responsible for acquiring new clients" when detailing your duties or roles in previous positions, simple write "Responsible for acquiring new clients." Excluding pronouns in resumes is a standard practice, as these words generally unnecessary and can take up valuable resume space.


Make the wording in your professional resume original and free from wordiness. An overuse of articles such as "the," "a," and "an" only serve as filler when writing your application materials. Use concise language and configure your duties and responsibilities into fragments that are formatted into bullet form. For example, instead of a wordy sentence such as "The manager is responsible for overseeing all office correspondence," you should format a bullet that reads "Responsible for overseeing all office correspondence."

General Terms

Since you have limited space on a professional resume and limited time to capture the attention of a hiring manager during your job search, avoid including general terms that don't communicate your experience or skills. Words such as "a lot" or "multiple" don't offer the specific information an employer needs to assess your skills. Use specific numbers and phrases that communicate your responsibilities such as "Managed $300 million in revenue" or "Recruited 35 new employees within one quarter." When you can offer employers concise information, they can see firsthand what you are capable of producing as a professional in the industry.

Crafting a professional resume requires you to use concise language while offering employers a snapshot of your experience and skills. Avoid using filler in this important document so you can showcase the most pertinent details related to your desired position.

Photo Courtesy of One Buck Resume at Flickr.com


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch