Resume Clichés that Make Recruiters Shrink

big small businessmanA resume works as your first impression. It says a lot about a person whether explicitly or implicitly. Besides the style that you would incorporate to create your resume, the choice of words is what affects your position.

Words like “detail oriented” have been used so frequently in CVs that they are neither interesting nor impressive anymore. So, while recruiters may have found them acceptable in the past, it is believed that anyone using these terms would convey exactly the opposite meaning to their hiring manager.

Secondly, the psychology behind cliché usage just because they were connected with successful people does not make “excellent written and verbal skills” stand out for recruiters anymore. It seems like everyone these days is “dedicated” and “exceptional” so what is it really that is uniquely you? Why should anyone consider you as an asset to their team?

Sometimes, of course, you cannot do without a particular phrase but it is important to remember two key points about them:

To keep them to a bare minimum

Not to include them in the career summary section

As long as you have sufficient accomplishments to describe that attribute, as long as you are not using it as a filler but have performed the role, it is okay to use the terms. You have only 15-30 seconds to get their attention. If you have them positioned in the summary, it would end up making recruiters lose interest for the rest of it.

How Do You Avoid Clichés?

A LinkedIn study determined that the one buzzword prone to massive overuse in 2013 had been “responsible”. The list also had “effective”, “patient”, “strategic”, “creative”, “innovative”, “expert”, “driven”, “organizational”, “and analytical” in it.

Other catch phrases that make hiring managers take them less seriously are “hard worker”, “problem solver”, “team player”, “people person”, “self-starter”, “highly qualified”, “flexible”, “dynamic”, “familiar with”, and “reliable”.

People definitely need to work on standing out from the crowd. You need to have your resume focused only on the accomplishments that you have, written in quantifiable terms. Originality matters a lot in the marketing world, especially when you are hoping to penetrate the professional market, standing against your competitors.

You need to have power words such as “trained”, “persuaded”, “conceptualized”, “adapted” that would accurately describe you. A majority of these are action verbs, which, accordingly, should also be preferred comparatively to passive words.

On a final note, be sure that you have a long list of references – professionals only – who can vouch for your experience.


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