Recruiters and hiring managers receive a huge number of resumes for each job they advertise, and it’s hard to get their attention at the best of times.

One certain way to not grab their attention is by using stereotypical, overused, bland and often meaningless ‘buzzwords in your resume’.

These are words and phrases that will appear in four of every five resumes that they review. These will be clear indicators to them that they should stop reading and move onto the next resume.

A strong resume should be clear, concise and give a good representation of your skills and experience without relying on empty or general statements.

To make sure that you’re submitting the strongest application you can, read through your resume.  Then make sure you’re not making the following mistakes. Remove the resume buzzwords!

Bad resume buzzwords – Your Personal Statement:

  1. ‘Results-oriented professional’ – if I had a dollar for every time I’d seen a sentence like this in an opening paragraph I’d be living the life of a wealthy man. This statement should be a given, and recruiters and hiring managers will see this as obvious, possibly even stopping reading immediately.
  2. ‘Extensive experience’ – don’t get me wrong, the experience is a great asset, and if you can clearly state the key skills and experience you’ve made use of, all the better. What you don’t want to do is be vague – readers will prefer to see definitive statements – ‘A telecommunications specialist with 5 years of experience’ is more effective, then move onto the valuable assets you can bring to the company you’re applying to.
  3. ‘with strong communications skills’ – yes, many job adverts will ask for candidates who have this, that’s true. Stating this without evidence, however, is weak and ineffective. If the role requires this, don’t state it here – show it with evidence in your Employment History.

Bad resume buzzwords – Your Key Skills:

  1. ‘Computer skills’ – these are perhaps the vaguest and most common words that I see o, and they’re utterly meaningless. Do you mean that you’re experienced in using Microsoft Office to develop professional documents and manage the client registry?  Or did you boot up the computer and play Solitaire? The reader doesn’t know!
  2. ‘Team player’ – another one that job adverts will often ask for, but again – saying it doesn’t really show much. You’re better demonstrating this in your Employment History, showing how you’ve worked in a team to achieve a significant outcome.
  3. ‘Hard-working’ – can you imagine someone writing ‘Lazy’ on a resume? Not in the slightest. Recruiters and hiring managers will be looking at your experience and achievements to see how you’ve been hard-working – just saying it is an empty statement and won’t interest them at all.

Bad resume buzzwords – Your Employment History:

  1. ‘Responsible for’ – while what you’re describing might be in your job description, ‘Responsible for’ isn’t the best way of describing it. Stronger words for this include ‘Managed’, ‘Oversaw’, ‘Led’ or similar words.
  2. ‘Successfully’ – this one has mixed opinions. While it’s an effective way of showing that you managed to ensure the success of the project, some people claim that you obviously succeeded in what you did, otherwise you wouldn’t be mentioning it. Simply stating what you did and the accomplished result should be strong enough for most readers.
  3. ‘Contributed to’ – one that we see pretty frequently, this phrase makes it onto this list because it’s so vague. This could mean anything from ‘Led the project’ to ‘Made the coffee’. So without giving the precise nature of your work and its accomplishments, the reader won’t be interested.

Bad resume buzzwords – Key things to remember:

  • Avoid words and phrases that are vague
  • Show your skills and experience, don’t just summarise them in a single, general word
  • Just because a job advert asks for something doesn’t mean you should list it in the exact words
  • Use strong words to describe your responsibilities
  • Avoid clichés!

If you need help to ensure your resume overcomes these common errors and meets the standards of Australian hiring managers and recruiters, please get in touch so we can help you.

We wish you all the best in your job search!
Careers Team, Career Success Australia