My attitude and approach towards resume writing is scattered everywhere on Landing On Your Feet. You need it. It needs to be spot on. Not a deal breaker.
Only not a deal breaker if the resume comes in after the contact, after the interview, after the vetting, etc.
But if you lead with the resume (as far too many do), then a resume can be a deal breaker.
More specifically, let’s talk about words and terms that can turn or make your resume into a deal breaker – or worst yet – into a nonstarter…
Charles Purdy, Monster Senior Editor, wrote this:
But there are also many ways to get your resume immediately consigned to the No pile. One way is to use the wrong words or phrases — often, empty clichés, annoying jargon or recycled buzzwords…
He recruited a number of experts to share what they thought were resume killing terms and he came up with nine:
- “Job Duties”
- “Related Coursework”
- “Married with Children”
- “Wacky Email Addresses (and Twitter Handles!)”
- “Transferable Skills”
- “Utilized My Skills”
You can read the article and the discussion of these terms by clicking here.
As a side, you should also check out Phil Baker’s great website, www.ResumeDictionary.com. I first learned about him through his tremendous software program, One Click Cover Letter Creator. However, his website is – maybe – the most comprehensive tool out there, that I’ve found, for writing your own resume. And it’s all free. Go check it here – www.ResumeDictionary.com.
As you write your resume, please don’t get too hung up on what terms to use and not to use. Odd advice considering that I just offered 9 terms to avoid. Still, every’s situation – your situation – is different and some terms may work or not.
It’s all general advice to keep in mind as you write your resume.
Richard Beatty of “The Resume Kit” wrote this a while back ago but the advice is still very sound:
There’s little advice that can be provided to the job seeker in this area. You are what you are and the facts can’t be changed. You either have the desired core qualifications or you don’t. The best you can hope for is that through thoughtful, diligent resume design, you have clearly presented your overall skills and credentials in a highly effective, convincing manner that will grab the employer’s attention.
Nice advice. You can read the rest of that article he wrote in 2003, These Resume Gaffes Do Immediate Damage, in the Wall Street Journal by clicking on the title.
Lastly,some advice from Investopedia from a couple of years ago that I liked. Still valid I think:
Show, Don’t Tell
Avoid these clichés, because they’re umbrella terms everyone uses, so your resume gets lost in the shuffle. In this competitive job market, your resume really needs to stand out and be memorable for you to get that interview. Find ways to be detailed about your achievements, and quantify how you’ve added to the company’s bottom line. Show who you are and what you’ve done – these details will make you stand out as the memorable candidate you are.
The article lists the 10 terms that no longer work:
- “I’m a Team-Player.”
- “I Have Great Communication Skills.”
- “I Have a Proven Track-Record.”
- “I’m a Problem Solver.”
- “I Assisted in X Task.”
- “I Have a Strong Work Ethic.”
- “I’m Bottom-Line Focused.”
- “I’m Responsible for X.”
- “I’m Self-Motivated.”
- “I’m Accustomed to a Fast-Paced Environment.”
You need a good resume – particularly if you’re looking to lead with one. As you go through the task of writing, keep the advices mentioned here in mind. Use resources like Phil Baker’s www.ResumeDictionary.com or the tools at my resume resource page.
If you’re not a good writer or just feel intimidated by the prospect, then reach out and look at inexpensive, paid templates like, Guerrilla Resume, to get you over the hump.
Lots of resources out there for you to use without having to resort to canned cliches and overworked verbiage.