Bad Words On Your Resume

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Bad Words On Your Resume

Bad Words On Your ResumeWhen rewriting resume content for clients, one of the most common mistakes we see is when someone includes what we like to call “bad words” on a resume. These “bad words” usually fall within two categories and range anywhere from statements that point out certain negative aspects of your personal life or ubiquitous phrases that everyone uses on their resumes. Below I will describe which two categories of bad words to avoid on your resume.

Negative Statements

Let’s say you are a single mom, recently went through a divorce a year ago, and relocated to another town or state. You are ready to get your job search going and start to have your resume prepared either by yourself or an expert resume writer. Without hesitation, you begin thinking of ways to explain why you have that gap between jobs last year because you were going through rough time and lost your job due to missing work for personal or emotional reasons. You begin to jot down on paper or tell your writer that you went through a divorce and you want to convey this somehow on the resume as to point out why you have a lapse in employment.

STOP IMMEDIATELY!!! This is where common sense must kick in and you have to realize that drawing unnecessary attention to a negative aspect of your personal life on a resume is not only irrelevant to the reader, but it is just a terrible way to make a strong first impression. Alternatively, you should focus on gaining the opportunity to sell yourself in person and explain your situation face-to-face instead of potentially turning the reader away before you even have the chance to interview.

Generic Phrases

Yes, you are well organized, dedicated and highly qualified – but what does this tell an employer other than you are just like every other candidate who flings a resume across their desk? That’s right, absolutely nothing. Add some substance to your resume. Instead of telling the employer how you are a problem solver, tell a quick story about “which problems you solved” and how. Show results, not generic skills. Instead of using the phrase “revenue generation”, demonstrate how much revenue you generated during your tenure.

Here is a list of the most common phrases that you should try to avoid or elaborate on a little more creatively:

Team Player, Highly Qualified, Dynamic, Problem Solver, Hard Working, Reliable, Knowledge of, People Person, Organizational Skills, Interpersonal Communication – and the list goes on.

While there is nothing instinctively wrong about using any of the above phrases, they are not powerful or persuasive enough to impress a hiring manager who sees these same exact words being used on hundreds of other resumes. Clichés are not memorable so quit using generic content as a pedestal and clinch on to specific, yet still concise information instead. Try telling how you “led the team” or “improved customer service” by possessing those traits and you will most likely see better results. The person reading it will appreciate the embellishment and extra effort more than you think.

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Comments (4)

  • Lance

    DLR – May I suggest becoming a Dental Lab Technician? Whereas they say this is a posiiton which may become phased out eventually (certainly not anytime soon in my area – Southern/Central NY state), it is fairly high-paying for a position with on-the-job training. No schooling is really required, and someone who can do a little of everything, a Jack-of-All-Trades if you will, might be just what a dental office is looking for. This would work especially well for you if you possess even an inkling of creative ablity, thrive on working with your hands, and enjoy new challenges daily.

    Good luck!

    September 26, 2013 at 12:03 am
  • Lance

    And overuse of scrabble-style words will get you nowhere! Resist the urge, please, to use “corporate-speak” just because it sounds “business-like.”

    September 25, 2013 at 11:58 pm
  • Druthers

    Be honest. Don’t try to weave common experience into acts of genius. Be able to back your accomplishments with metrics, and be sure that each metric you claim can be verified by a legitimate reference. Focus on our strengths, summarize your professional aspirations in terms relevant to your job goals, and ensure that the totality of the resume you create is worthy of follow-up by those who can benefit from your services, and that you can benefit from serving.

    July 20, 2013 at 1:24 am
  • DLR

    The resume writers I’ve seen always change the document into “something foreign” that I can not even relate to.

    I believe a resume is the “lead in” to the interview … if your resume has been plumped up into a grandiose read AND you CAN NOT talk the same way… that leads to a BIGGER failure.

    So, the resume may not be the only item to be concerned about!

    I am a mature person (57) who was laid off from a a 10+year / $60+K government job in 2010 … and have struggled ever since.

    I did a career change (required schooling plus state licenses) that did not pan out and clearly has caused the appearance of a severe job hopper. My overall skill sets, which I am very fast concluding, may be only be surface knowledge (or I know only a little bit of each task I’ve performed). Currently, I am classified as a part time retail sales person making $8.75/ hr. We have NO extra cash to go back to school. I’d like to get something that I could call my last career job. I want to be content but with a slight challenge to the tasks at work.

    I MUST get a FULL TIME job (consistent 40 hours) … not for any of the side benefits in a job BUT I need to make a better salary so bills can be comfortably be paid and provide food without worrying.

    BTW – the email to this comment is NOT the one I use on resumes.

    July 9, 2013 at 9:27 am

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