The burning question when it comes to most resumes is how to make yours stand out from the rest. There is no shortage of information regarding what you should include, but knowing what to leave off of your resume is just as important.
Here are five words and phrases you should avoid including in your resume.
1. Organized and Detail Oriented: As opposed to what? Completely scatterbrained and unable to coordinate tying your shoes? These qualities are expected and should be a given. Use your resume to convey what you DID in a clear and articulate manner. Give examples – make the reader understand how you delivered for your employer. Example: Initiated the development of a streamlined database to manage the firm’s high net-worth clients. Designed a lead follow-up methodology, which resulted in a $2 million gain in quarterly revenue.
2. Excellent with clients and customers: This screams cliché. This has no meaning except if it is backed by a situation, action, and result (SAR). Describe what you did for your clients / customers with the emphasis on a strong result. Example: Resolved customer complaints, including tracking lost items and replacing broken parts. Recognized with the company’s “Achievement of Excellence” award in 2008 and 2009.
3. Team Player: Would you tell a prospective employer that you detest people and would rather be left alone in a cubicle all day? The ability to collaborate with others is a given for most opportunities. Instead, focus on the specifics. Example: Participated as a valued member of a 12-person project team to complete the redesign of 124,000 sq. ft. of retail space for a leading big box retailer; generated project schedules, orchestrated weekly meetings, and resolved outstanding issues to achieve project completion six weeks ahead of schedule.
4. I, We, Our: These are personal pronouns that should never be used when writing a resume. (Cover letters are a different story.) Instead, use powerful action verbs to communicate your message. This will keep the reader engaged. Example: Secured $10 million in incremental revenue through the development of strategic partnerships with leading logistics companies. Assembled and directed a global team comprised of local, European, and Asian resources.
5. Responsible for: ‘Responsible for’ is entirely too common and uninspiring. I do not recommend you start even one bullet or paragraph with this. Snorefest!
You have just a few seconds to leave a strong impression. The call, if it comes, will be the direct result of a powerful resume with concrete examples, and without trite or meaningless verbiage. Dust off your document and review it. Are you guilty of empty phrases? If so, it’s time for a resume overhaul.