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Phrases to Kill your Resume

Every year, the already crowded and competitive job market is flocked by recent college graduates. Job-hunting has become so stiff that it requires one to be sharp and self-motivated. Strangely enough, just about the worst way to show your talent and motivation in your resume or cover letter is to say, “Hey! I’m self-motivated.” You cannot afford to let done-to-death boilerplate language sink your resume like a boat anchor. Landing your dream job can be tough, but it’s not impossible. All you have to do is make yourself standout and you can start by fine-tuning your resume.

In 2016, let’s try to ignore resume clichés like “self-motivated individual” and “results-oriented professional.” It’s time to think outside the box. Read through your resume again and watch out for the following words and phrases that can ruin the odds of scoring an interview.

1. “Results-oriented professional.”

Telling everyone that you are a professional doesn’t really tell everyone anything about you as an individual. The phrase ‘results-oriented professional’ on your resume is just too hard to prove. If you mean that you are a professional because you always meet the deadline or you’ve accomplished something spectacular in your career, write something within that line instead. “I love to solve thorny supply-chain problems.”

2. “Possess organizational skills.”

This phrase simply takes up a lot of valuable space in your resume. Instead of showcasing something unique about yourself, saying that you possess organizational skills just doesn’t work. If you want to convey that you possess organizational skills, say something like “Reduced customer-complaint resolution time from three weeks to one by revamping the process.”

3. “Best.” Hyperbolic words like ‘best’ is a big NO in resumes.

Like the first two items listed, words like ‘best,’ ‘most,’ and ‘greatest’ are difficult to prove in writing. This is aside from the scary prospect that you could be taken as too confident and arrogant.

4. “Detail-oriented.”

Words that have been used over and over again tend to lose its meaning in the long run. This is the same case with ‘detail-oriented.’ Every resume today is guaranteed to have this phrase somewhere in their document and it has begun to mean nothing at all. If you want to say that you are an eagle-eyed proofreader or a graphic designer that can come up with a symbolism down to the smallest detail, say that instead.

5. “References available upon request.”

This phrase is a thing of the past. Get rid of this. If you think that those references are imperative to you landing the job, give it to them up front.

6. “Hardworking.”

Everyone would be tempted to tag their selves as hardworking in their resumes. But there’s a lot of other ways to indicate that you are indeed hardworking. Consider writing “At Company101, Incorporated, I partnered with Engineering to cut our product cost in half” or “I taught myself HTML over a weekend in order to grab a marketing opportunity.”

7. “Creative.”

Saying that you’re creative on your resume says otherwise. Be really creative by finding other ways to describe your creativity.

The bottom line here is to not tell your readers about the qualities you possess. You have to show it to them. Don’t let them simply read your resume, show them concrete but succinct details. Let go of clichés and start making use of strong, attention-grabbing phrases. Be a giraffe in this world full of zebras.

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