Bad Words On Your ResumeCareers Plus Resumes
When 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.
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.
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.