It’s 2016, but the age-old resume still has its place.
Although employers now rely on far more than just a pre-written document (your LinkedIn etiquette may also be scrutinized, for example) it’s still vital that you nail your resume.
By using cliche phrases and worn out buzzwords, you can seriously dampen the shine of your otherwise respectable achievements and qualifications.
To ensure you’re using the right words to sell yourself, here are six buzzwords to avoid - and what to say instead.
1. “I’m Motivated"
Describing yourself as “motivated” tells an employer absolutely nothing.
What are you motivated to do? What are you motivated by? Are you sure you’re always motivated, no matter what? As you can see, using such a generic adjective without context poses more questions than it answers.
What to say instead: Talk about how you’re eager to create solutions and launch ideas, and that you don’t like to simply wait for tasks to be handed out.
2. “I’m Results-driven”
By using the word “results”, you’re immediately placing the burden of proof upon yourself.
When an employer hears about you delivering results, they want to see number on things like revenue generated, spending reduced, and major projects delivered. So, unless you can prove your claim, it’s best to totally avoid this term.
What to say instead: Menton how you always aim to increase and/or decrease relevant metrics within the companies you work at – and be sure to give a concrete example.
3. “I’m Resourceful”
Another positive trait that has been used and abused by job seekers over the years.
The problem is, you can’t actually measure just how resourceful somebody is, unless they give you a tangible example.
What to say instead: Talk about how you try to work intelligently with the resources available to you. To back up your claim, give examples of how you’ve completed projects on a tight budget in the past.
4. “I Enjoy Socialising”
No way. Really? You’re hired.
It’s almost as if we feel obliged to include this phrase on our resumes for some reason. It’s typically deployed when talking about interests and hobbies, despite it sounding extremely unimpressive.
What to say instead: Don’t talk about how much you love to go out and party. Show some personality by mentioning sports teams that you’re a part of, volunteering, travel, and work-related interests.
5. “I Have Strong Communication Skills”
Possibly the most overused resume phrase. Ever.
The problem here is, having good communication skills is basically a prerequisite for every job on earth. Thus, is not worth mentioning.
But more importantly, if you do indeed have strong communication skills, you shouldn’t need to state it. It will be obvious through the way your resume is written.
What to say instead: Don’t talk about how good at communication you are – demonstrate it. Make your resume concise, easy to read, and yet intelligently written. That’ll do the trick.
6. “I Work Well in a Team or Individually”
Once again, this commonly found phrase is only useful for taking up space on your resume.
Think about it; Humans either work within a team, or as individuals. There really is no other alternative. Hence, you’re essentially just saying, “I work well”.
What to say instead: The intention here is usually to communicate how well you work with others. To do that, talk about how you have liaised with partner companies in the past, how you have cooperated on projects with others, and so forth.
You’re Better Than Buzzwords
You may be thinking that - without the buzzwords above - your resume lacks depth. But that’s quitter talk.
Switch it up with the alternatives I provided, have a thesaurus handy, backup your claims, and above all; stop being a generic job seeker.
For more job seeking tips, check out my roundup of what modern employers look for in an employee.
Know any other words that employers hate? Share them with us in the comments section below!
About the Author
Kaya Ismail is a wordsmith and founder of Employ the Internet. He is a seasoned content marketer with a love for video games and coffee.