16 Resume Buzzwords That Are a Waste of Space

Getting your CV right is absolutely crucial when you want to get a job. It’s the first thing recruiters will see from you, and if they don’t like it, you won’t get a second chance. With that in mind, here are some common resume buzzwords to avoid.

1. Highly qualified/Experienced/Expert

If you really are highly qualified and have tonnes of experience, your CV will show that. If it doesn’t then either you can’t lay claim to those attributes, or your resume is badly done. If you want to position yourself as an expert, get one of your previous supervisors or managers to give you a recommendation on LinkedIn. That will give you much more credibility.

2. Punctual

This is (or should be) a given. If you have a job, you are expected to be there at a certain time. You shouldn’t be showing off about fulfilling such a basic requirement.

3. Ambitious

Although it seems like a positive quality, it can make employers worry that you only see this job as a stepping stone and will be out of the door as soon as you see something better.

4. Results-driven

Give them some evidence. Mention some results that you have delivered for previous employers, and they will infer that you intend to do the same for them.

5. Ninja/Hero/Rock Star/Guru/Evangelist

You’re quite simply not any of those things (and if you are, you probably don’t bother with a CV). Terms like this contribute nothing to an employer’s understanding of your experience and what you can do.

6. Responsible for

These are just extra, unnecessary words taking up space on your CV. Instead of writing “Responsible for key account management”, simply putting “Key account management” will do the same job while getting straight to the point.

7. Successfully

As with “responsible for”, this is unnecessary. It should be taken as read that the accomplishment listed on your CV were successful. Unless you were “Unsuccessfully responsible for key account management”, which might be the reason you need a new job.

8. Team-player

This is another example of something your CV should make clear without explicitly stating. Mention the positive results of a group project you were involved in to put this point across instead.

9. Hard-working

Would anyone write “kind of lazy” on their CV? Exactly. It can be taken as read that you are (or at least want the company to think you are) a hard worker for the purposes of a job application.

10. Self-starter

Great. You’re not at school anymore. Do you really need to tell us that you can get things done before your mum reminds you seven times and throws a tea towel at you?

11. Microsoft Word/Office

Who are you kidding? It’s 2016. Everyone in the workforce can manage a Word doc. You should only be including skills which set you apart from the crowd.

12. Communication skills

See above. If you do have exceptional communication skills, that ought to show in your application. Unfortunately, what most people mean by this is “I have a mouth and I can speak words.”

13. Familiar with

Saying you’re familiar with something doesn’t sound overly confident, it sounds more like “I’ve heard of…” If you have a certain skill or good knowledge of something, just put that. Otherwise, don’t.

14. References on request

If an employer wants references, they will ask for them. Until then, there is no need to waste vital space on your CV.

15. Salary negotiable

Another waste of a line. Salary negotiations are an assumed part of the hiring process. Writing “Salary negotiable” is a bit like making a point of also writing “Available for interviews”.

16. Gap year/Sabbatical

This is particularly a problem when you are earlier in your career. Working for a year and then immediately taking a year off is not a great sign for a hiring manager. If you do have something like this on your CV, highlight the worthwhile things you did in that time instead.

The recurring theme among all these resume buzzwords is that they’re not really telling the recruiter anything about you or what you can do, and at the end of the day, that’s unforgivable on a CV where space is at a premium.

BONUS: Phone/Email

While not a buzzword, these two get an honourable mention. It’s just not necessary to include the actual words “phone” or “email” on your CV. Any company worth working for will realise that it’s your phone number or email address. Can you honestly imagine anyone mistaking “[email protected]” for your current job title (or anything else)?

 

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