Words To Never Include In Your Resume

It’s true that you only get one chance to make a good first impression, probably most true when related to a job resume.  While screening software is widely used, eventually a recruiter is the first person you must impress.

The language or content of your resume can directly affect any job seekers chances of getting the job.  With the limited window available to capture the attention of a potential hiring manager, care should be taken to use it wisely.

The temptation to fill your resume with verbose language or buzzwords can backfire, so experts have compiled a list of terms that should never appear in a resume.

  • Unemployed

There’s no need to highlight that you were unemployed if your dates of employment make it clear you were between jobs.

  • Hardworking or Hard worker

Actions speak louder than words.  It should be assumed you’re hard working until proven otherwise.

  • “Ambicious”

Be especially careful of misspellings.  Read over your work repeatedly until you’re sure you’ve eliminated any mistakes.  One error can demonstrate a lack of attention to detail and ruin the impression you’re trying to make.

  • Microsoft Office

Proficiency in Microsoft Office is a given.  Only include skills outside the standard, relevant to the position you’re applying for if possible, but anything that makes you stand out as a superior candidate.

  • Objective

An objective isn’t necessary if you’re resume speaks to your career trajectory in a straightforward manner.  Even less so if you’re including a cover letter with your resume.  Don’t waste valuable resume space with redundancies.

  • Synergy

Some words are overused and should be avoided.  Another example would be wheelhouse.

  • Reference Available Upon Request

This statement at the end of your resume reflects a degree of desperation.  If a recruiter wants references, they’ll ask.  There’s no need to point out the obvious.

  • I, She, He, Him, Her

Stick to listing the facts, not telling a story.

  • Rockstar

Unless the job you’re applying for truly involves an electric guitar and performing on stage, this too has been overused and should be avoided.

  • Dabbled

Don’t add experience you “dabbled” in on your resume, even though you think it may look good.  Only list technology or systems that you consider yourself proficient in.

  • On Time

Being on time is an expectation, not a skill.  Instead, list achievements that impacted former employers in a positive way; improved their efficiency or grew their profit margins, etc.

  • Expert

Be cautious tossing this word around unless you truly are an expert.  You can expect to be heavily questioned to demonstrate your expertise so best to be prepared.

  • Can’t or Won’t

Resumes should demonstrate what you can do, not what you cannot due.  Avoid negative words.

  • Unnecessary personal information

Personal data like your date of birth, family status, and personal interests have no bearing on your qualifications for a job.  They should be avoided on a resume.

  • “I know HTML, Photoshop…”

Honesty is always the best policy.  Never list skills you don’t have.  You’ll set yourself up for success by being honest about your skills and open the door for learning new skills and gaining experience on the job.

  • Hobbies

Another example of resume content that does not pertain to the job you’re applying for.  Only include information pertinent to the job and don’t waste space on irrelevant facts.

  • Generalizations

Some recruiters prefer to see actual numbers to substantiate accomplishments, so where you can, provide enough context to show what impact your efforts made on the company.

  • Accomplished

Consider your accomplishments as currency for your resume.  Even better if it applies to the job you want, enhancing your perceived worth.  Your accomplishments can ultimately affect your offer or even if you are granted an interview.  Start with the accomplishment, then define it with numbers, and close with the impact you made on the goal.

  • Stay-at-home Mom

Falling into the personal information category, you can expose yourself to discrimination by filling any employment gaps with this title.  If you must, then be creative.  Domestic CEO with your accomplishments listed in corporate terms, budgets, scheduling, procurement, is better than stay at home mom.

  • Responsible for…

Using a more powerful lead in leaves a better impression.  Provide a strong title and area of responsibility substantiated by data applicable to the goal.

  • Results-oriented

These words are probably the weakest and most abused on resumes.  Using them can obliterate your chances.  Your resume content should be strong and goal oriented.