What most people don’t realize is that what you don’t include in your resume is almost as important as what you do include. Because of that, if you want your resume to be at its best, you need to make sure that you’re not making any of these common mistakes.
Here are twelve phrases not to include on your resume – as well as why you should avoid them wherever possible.
1. Best of breed
Why it needs to go: One survey from CareerBuilder found that this term turns hiring managers off more than any other term.
2. Able to meet deadlines
Why it needs to go: Being able to meet deadlines is a fundamental part of every job. Boasting that you’re able to do it implies that you have nothing else to boast about.
3. References available upon request
Why it needs to go: This is already a given. Either include references or don’t, but don’t sit on the fence with this unnecessary turn of phrase that doesn’t add anything to your resume.
Why it needs to go: It’s better to show and not tell. Instead of claiming to be results-driven, highlight an example from your career in which you actually drove some results. Because let’s face it, if you can’t think of a good example then maybe you’re not results-driven after all.
5. Team player
Why it needs to go: Again, you need to show this instead of just making the claim. On top of that, employers will already assume that you’re a team player – because otherwise why would you be applying to become part of a team?
Why it needs to go: We can safely assume that if you’re mentioning something on your resume, you did it successfully. It’s not like you’d write, ‘Unsuccessfully managed a team and got fired after they mutinied and went on strike.’
Why it needs to go: It makes you sound like a pack of potato chips. Don’t use ‘veteran’, either. People can draw their own conclusions from your work history and your achievements.
8. Effective communicator
Why it needs to go: If you think that saying ‘I’m an effective communicator’ effectively communicates that you’re an effective communicator, you’re not an effective communicator.
Why it needs to go: This makes it sound like you made coffee for someone else while they did the real work. Don’t say what you helped someone else to do – explain what it was that you did yourself.
Why it needs to go: Like describing yourself as a visionary or a thought-leader, it creates the impression that you have an unrealistically high opinion of your own abilities. As with many of the other items on this list, you shouldn’t make the claim – you should show it instead.
Why it needs to go: Nobody in their right mind would describe themselves as lazy, and in our always on world there’s no room for anyone who isn’t hardworking. On a similar note, don’t talk about working well in a fast-paced environment. Every work environment is fast-paced in the internet age.
12. Problem solver
Why it needs to go: Unless you’re applying for a job as Sherlock Holmes then describing yourself as a problem solver can sound pretentious. Instead of saying that you’re a problem solver, show a couple of examples of the problems you’ve solved.
Your resume is your single most important asset when it comes to finding a job, and so it’s vital that you make the most of it. If you’re struggling, consider calling for backup and hiring essay services or even just asking your friends and family to read your resume and to share their honest opinion.
When it all comes down to it, much of the advice in this article comes down to “show, don’t tell”. In other words, don’t just say something – put it into context with an example. Instead of saying you can lead a team, talk about a time when you were doing just that. It brings your resume to life and makes you seem much more attractive to potential employers.
Above all else, keep hustling. You should never think of your resume as finished because there will always be room for improvement. Make sure that you check it regularly and make sure that it always reflects who you are as a person. If you can, personalize your resume for each job that you apply to and take the time to explain why you’re a good fit for it. You’ll land that job in no time.