We see so many vague meaningless phrases in job descriptions, it’s no wonder that we are tempted to use them in our resumes. However, phrases like “team player”, “effective communicator”, and “demonstrate initiative” are overused and give no evidence of those qualities. Instead, in your resume, you need to show proof that you possess them through your past accomplishments.
Here are 6 things to edit out from your resume:
1. “Motivated, Passionate, Driven”:
These qualities don’t shine through on paper, and everyone else claims to have them. Instead, try demonstrating that you possess these qualities in your ‘Achievements’ or ‘Extra-Curriculars’ section – where you can talk about leading a team of 5 in your final year project, or the numbers you significantly changed during your internship, or how you participate in professional associations through groups on LinkedIn on a daily basis, or volunteered with an NGO during the summers. Unless you have the proof to back the claim of being ‘motivated, passionate and driven’, don’t use the words just for the sake of it.
Moreover, elaborating on how you’re a better fit for the role, can be done in a better way while you’re being interviewed, so try and save something for then.
2. “Responsible for…”
Sure, you can say you were responsible for bringing in new business, but can you say you actually achieved it? Instead of writing “responsible for making sales calls to gain new business”, you can just write “made sales calls and closed 10 deals in 1 year”. Talk about what you you were able to get done by the end of a given task, instead of plainly stating what you were ‘supposed’ to do.
3. “Assisted in..”:
Again, this word gives no clue to the scope of your involvement nor what you achieved for the project. You might have been the second in command or played a small role. For all anyone knows, your job was to probably make xerox copies.
Even if you played only a small part of the team, you still had specific tasks. Instead of writing “Assisted the organization of a conference for 100 people,” write “oversaw the sign in table for 100 conference delegates and completed the process in 20 minutes.”
4. “Think outside the box”, “effective written communication”, “team player” :
Apart from the fact that these are very over-used in the industry today, they also are meaningless phrases on their own, without a proper context or example, that does not show the employer what you are capable of.
Eliminate “effective written communication” altogether. Your resume and cover letter are written documents. The employer will judge your writing abilities based on them, not by the fact that you said you are good at writing.
5. “Skills: Microsoft Office…”
Just, no. In this day and age, basic computer skills are expected from any office worker. Unless your job demands advanced Microsoft Word or Excel skills that you have, that include say – number of words you can type per minute, or your speed and dexterity on Excel, you can leave this one out for good. Focus instead of specialized computer skills, like Photoshop, HTML, CSS, and PHP.
6. “Served as”, “duties included” :
Do not use boring terminology that lack action, such as the one stated here. These are passive sentences, that do not indicate pro-activeness, which is quality that employers are looking for.
Use strong action verbs instead, like “pioneered”, “improved”, “analyzed”, and “generated”. You need to show accomplishment and action on your resume, after all.