Phrases That Kill Resumes

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resumeOver my career I have come into contact with thousands of people who perform miracles at work every day. But you would never know it if you looked at their resumes. More than 90% of the resumes I see overuse personal attributes to describe the person's candidacy.

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While personal attributes are factored into the hiring decision, what needs to be communicated on the resume is your value proposition and proof of past successes that demonstrate that these attributes are core to your brand and personal pitch. The words themselves are meaningless unless they are backed up with facts. Here are a few word choices that I frequently see on resumes that unfortunately tell me nothing about you.

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Dynamic: If you were so dynamic, you wouldn't be using the word dynamic to describe yourself. Instead you would be showcasing an accomplishment that proves this quality. For example, maybe you have been able to woo difficult to land clients or you deliver engaging presentations to standing room only crowds.


Trustworthy: What does this mean exactly? That you won't share proprietary information or you won't steal post-its from the company's supply closet? If you chose to put that word on your resume, there must have been a reason you selected it. Think about the success stories that prove why being trustworthy is important for the work you do and write about that instead.


Team Player: This one really makes me cringe. It's so stale it leads me to believe that you haven't thought about your resume since 1987. Tell me how you collaborate with others, mentor staff, recommend initiatives that make teams more cohesive...anything, but please don't just tell me you are a team player.


Strong Communication Skills: Right. You are such a great communicator that the words alone make it true. Where's the communications piece in this equation? Please communicate to me what you have done that proves this skill. That's what a strong communicator does.

Stop selling yourself short by relying on these phrases that kill resumes. Instead focus on the accomplishment-based examples of your work that make you a star.

Next: 6 Job Search Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make >


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