8 phrases/words to avoid in your resume

So, you’re ready to start your job search. First order of business is to get your resume updated. While resume trends come and go, here are 8 phrases and/or words that should never be used on your resume.

  1. “We” and “us.” Avoid the use of “we” and “us” in your resume. Hiring managers don’t care as much about what your team did, as what you specifically brought to the table.
  2. Repetition. Don’t repeat your skill set/tools used under each position listed. This makes the resume longer than necessary. A better idea would be to have a “Tools” or “Skills” section. List the years of experience you have using the tool or skill as well.
  3. Jack of all trades. For most positions, avoid labeling yourself as a “one-stop-shop,” a “jack of all trades,” or “Swiss army knife.” While it’s great to have a diverse skill set, unless the position truly requires one individual to handle that many varied responsibilities, most managers look at this “generalist” positioning as less appealing. Either it means you won’t be challenged in their role, since it won’t allow you to apply all aspects of your toolbelt, or they’ll feel your compensation requirements for having so many skills will put you outside of their feasible range. Typically, a tailored resume for the specific role you’re applying to, drawing out the relevant skills and experience only, will be better received by the manager reviewing.
  4. Team player, hard worker, self-driven, etc. There are a lot of cliché terms that everyone puts on their resume that should be avoided. These specific attributes are pretty much expected from all employees. Some of these include: team player, hard worker and self-driven, amongst others.
  5. Rockstar. The term “Rockstar” is just so overused. This is similar to using the term expert. Unless you truly are an expert I wouldn’t say you are. If you do say expert, then expect to be grilled in an interview in the area you claim to be an expert.
  6. Personal info. Don’t list any personal information such as your birthday, marital status, Social Security Number, etc.
  7. Stay-at-home mom. Don’t list gaps in employment as a “stay-at-home mom.” Instead, put relevant volunteer activities or skills that you did during that time and how they apply to the job you’re seeking.
  8. Third-person speak. Avoid talking about yourself in the third person: Mr. Benson did this, etc. Also, avoid going back and forth between past and present tense at all costs. It is akin to having a spelling or grammar mistake on your resume.

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About the author
Karissa Buckner serves as sr. recruiter for Synergis, a top IT and creative staffing firm. She has four years of experience in recruiting and has been leading the Creative Recruiting Team for two years. As the company’s democratically-appointed UX Queen, she focuses on working with all types of UX, UI, VUI, and Research candidates, and networks in the UX community every chance she gets. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia.