Beware of the bots which will be used to track initial applications! These tracking systems are filtering out any resumes which do not contain certain keywords which are in the job description. Read it again and again and underline the keywords. Then start writing the resume making sure these are mentioned.
Before we talk about clichés in your resume to avoid, make sure that you have done the above task. Otherwise, your application will never get to the second stage of short listing where it will be read by a real, live person.
Let’s move on to certain phrases that should not be in your resume because they are used by most other applicants, and many of them are pretty meaningless. After all, you are the best candidate and your resume has got to be perfect!
1. I am results-oriented.
Avoid this cliché like the plague. Of course you get results. Let’s hear about them. Instead, list the results you actually achieved, such as the following:
- Met sales target in a specific area and within a certain deadline.
- Achieved X% reduction in staff costs by implementing Y strategies.
- Increased revenue by $x by managing the opening of 10 new regional branches.
- Implemented new customer service guidelines over a six month period. Achieved a 25% increase in customer satisfaction in the following three month period.
Look at the image below. This guy sent in a resume bar! The problem is that it lists some ingredients (personal skills and qualities) but does not go into any detail. This one definitely contains nuts and is not recommended.
2. I am an effective communicator.
Far too vague. Does it mean that you can get some ideas across effectively, without overusing jargon? Are you able to communicate ideas and policies successfully to staff? If this is the case, then include these and again, be specific.
3. I am a perfect fit for the team.
Well, as you have not met the team yet, how on earth do you know? Why not mention what team building skills you have:
- How you build mutual respect for each others’ ideas in the team.
- Examples of how you shared tasks.
- Mention the achievements of the team such as exceeding targets, ratings and meeting tight deadlines.
- Give an example of how you dealt with a disagreement among team members.
4. I am creative.
This is almost meaningless as you are not running a writer’s workshop! Why not mention that you had ideas which led to an increase in productivity or enabled the company to cut costs, or improved the delivery procedures? Other examples:
- You led the team on an innovative project.
- You were able to solve a problem with regard to marketing plan templates.
- You implemented new guidelines for financial record keeping.
Study the infographic where people believe that creativity is essential for economic growth.
5. I am responsible for…
“Responsible for” covers of multitude of sins, so it’s better to avoid it altogether. It is preferable to use alternatives such as:
- Perform co-ordination duties including…
- Review financial procedures for external audits.
- Implement recruitment procedures in line with new EU directives.
- Liaise with regional offices on new payroll procedures.
- Write the online company’s monthly newsletter.
- Schedule examiners’ timetables in line with University requirements.
6. I am a people person.
Does this mean that you are a sociable, extroverted person? No, in the workplace, it means that you use your communication skills effectively. Let’s hear about them. The employer wants to know about:
- How you communicate enthusiasm to motivate your staff or fellow team members.
- Give examples of how you are a good listener.
- You can communicate your ideas/plans/procedures effectively.
- You are instrumental in preventing a communication breakdown in your team/section.
- You can give an example of how you handled a conflict diplomatically.
- You prefer face-to-face interaction instead of email or phone calls, whenever possible.
7. References available on request.
What are you holding back? Why aren’t the references included with the resume? You can have a reference sheet already prepared which can be on a separate page. The important thing to remember is that you need to make sure the people you have cited have all agreed to give you a reference. It is a good idea to let them have a copy of your resume and details of the job you are applying for. That saves them a lot of time. It also means that they can focus immediately when requested to write/talk about your suitability.
Let us know in the comments what hacks you have learned to make your resume perfect, in addition to the ones you have read in this post!
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