10 horrifying, overused resume words and phrases you must omit from your resume.

This is the third article in a four-part resume strategy series.

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We all use bad words sometimes.

If you're like me, sometimes those suckers just fall right out of your mouth before before you have even a moment to construct something a bit more eloquent.

(I try super hard to never have this happen in front of the children, I swear.)

(I mean, I don't swear.)

(Gah, I'm getting off track here!)

The point -- sometimes you speak before you think and dumb words come out of your mouth.

When it comes to your resume, however, you have opportunity to think, consider and strategize BEFORE you throw words down on paper. 

And so, if you have a resume that contains some (or many) of these horrifically overused, say-nothing, cliche words and phrases?

You really should consider a do-over.

10 horrifying, overused resume words and phrases

  1. Detail-oriented (or worse, detail-orienTATed). You can't just tell me that you are into details. Instead, spell out (in a bullet point) something that demonstrates your strong focus on details (and, better yet, explain how your focus on details helped better your current or a former employer.)
  2. Proven track record. You know anyone who has an unproven track record?This is a nothing phrase. Focus instead on developing a resume that makes it abundantly clear that you've got a pretty kick ass track record.
  3. Team player. Good thing you put this down. Because otherwise I might think you can't function on a team. Seriously -- It's assumed that those looking to work in a corporate environment will have the ability to work collaboratively with others. Stop using this awful term.
  4. Outside-of-the-box. You may as well stab the reviewer in the eye when you write something about how you think outside-of-the-box. It feels the exact same on the receiving end.
  5. C-suite. I've been seeing this one a lot lately, for some reason. It's like an emerging stupid cliche. Yes, I'd like for you to spell out your strengths high-level selling, or your skill in counseling members of your company's executive team. Just don't use "C-suite" when doing so. Please.
  6. Responsible for. I've talked about this one 1,000 times. I don't just want to know what you're responsible for -- I want to know the significance of it is, or why I should care that you're responsible for something. Don't just list out duties and responsibilities on your resume -- take it a step further and tell me the "so what?" about that responsibility.
  7. Win-win. I don't care what profession you're in, "cheesy sales person" pops into my head when I see this useless term. Spell out how you created a solution that benefitted all parties, of course. Just don't utter "win-win" as you do so.
  8. Hard working. Oh thank God you're saying this. I would have figured you were lazy and live for the weekends otherwise.
  9. Self-motivated. Again, highlight an instance (or more) that show me how you can direct yourself to the benefit of an employer. Just don't think you can throw "Hey, I'm self-motivated" out there and call it a day.
  10. Proactive. Another nothing word. Do you think I'm going to assume you're reactive unless you toss this into your resume? No, I am not. Instead of using this, consider spelling out an instance that you took charge and the positive result that came from it.

Bottom line... You can't just insert common fluff terms into your resume and think it's going to generate results. You've GOT to make it super easy for the reviewer to make a quick connection between her "Here's what I need" and your "Here's what <YOURNAME> has to offer."

Spell out the awesome. Take out the horrifying cliches.

Need help? Check out our Ridiculously Awesome Resume Kit or Weekend Resume Makeover course. 

Photo by: Me. That's my nephew; stop scaring him with your resumes, already.