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10 Words to Avoid on Your Resume

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10 Words to Avoid on Your Resume

You are a person that still needs a resume to get a job in today’s world of networking and making contacts. We don’t believe that you’re fresh out of university, or high school, but maybe you are looking to switch positions, from one industry to another. Anyway, a resume is essential as a presentation of your work and yourself and you need it to be well written. Some people would hire a person to do it for them and present them as they are, but only say it better. Even so, if you are writing your own resume, or you’re having it written for you- you must make sure that these words don’t appear.

10. Capable

Every employer who is looking at your resume will say the same thing: “Of course you’d call yourself capable. You wouldn’t say that you are incapable of performing a task”. This irritates them. Why? Because you don’t know for sure  that you are, and because you can’t be certain whether you would be capable of performing the work that you are applying to, since all you have to go by is a simple job description. There is no alternative word that you could use, but efficient is close enough.  It implies that you get the job done. Avoid describing yourself as “effective”.

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9.  Scalable

This is one of my favorites. Somewhere, in a resume, in an article, in a mere conversation someone used scalable and now everyone is using it as an adjective that goes with everything. It is difficult to define, and therefore it is hard to understand its meaning in a certain phrase. There is one thing you must avoid, and that is to make your resume vague. If your future employer is not sure what you meant by it, they won’t try to find out. Every word has a synonym, use it.

8. Hard-Working

Hard-working is good. Employers like hard-workers. Do you know what they like better? An employee that performs. Sometimes you don’t have to be a hard-worker to get the job done, especially if you’re in an industry where other things are more valuable like creativity (advertising), or  focus (finance). Try and find a synonym that would still imply that you are a hard-worker but in a way that counts. Or avoid the adjective.

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7. Thru

We are not thinking that you’d put “thru” in your resume necessarily. But this represents all the words in the text that may be misspelled, the dates that may not be correct or something else that is wrong. We are human, it is normal that we make mistakes, but that is no excuse. Use an online spell checker to see if you’ve missed a letter, double check your data (including your contact data- e-mail, phone number etc.) and after that, check for grammar and style errors. There and their, affective and effective, your and you’re may put off your potential employer and cross your name of the list.

6. Problem-solver

This word is not good because there is a certain dose of negativity in it. It implies that there will be problems and that you will be involved in them (as a problem solver of course). That is hard to predict and it may result in a tough question on your interview, such as : “Tell us about a specific problem that occurred and describe how you dealt with it”. Good luck getting out of that one.

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5. Creative

Being creative is a good quality, and this is actually a good word to have in your resume, but you must avoid describing yourself as creative. Try something like “worked alongside creative people”, “engaged in creative tasks”, etc. This implies that creativity and you are linked in some way and therefore you must be creative otherwise that wouldn’t be the case.

4. Innovative

Common place words like innovative are often used on resumes.  And by everyone. They have lost their strength and now make potential employers roll their eyes. Words such as: innovative, team player and results-oriented. There are better ways to say all this. Team player: Having worked in a team of skillful people. Innovative e.g.: Giving birth to new strategies. Results-oriented: Making sure that the goals were met, etc. Sometimes it is just best to describe yourself with phrases rather than words.

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3. “Communication skills”

What are communication skills? Being able to speak?  Being able to speak well?  Who judges that? How do you know that you have excellent communication skills?
Your resume must be different compared to all the others, and yet communication skills is a phrase that everyone puts in their resume. Once you look at it closely, you even realize that for a number of jobs, to be great with words is not essential. Especially in finance. And for some positions it is redundant to say that you have excellent communication skills. If you are a teacher, for example.  Avoid putting this phrase and just concentrate on writing your resume. If well written, it will show your communication skills.

2. Motivated

This is ok if you say what motivates you-e.g. “Internally motivated” or “Learning and acquiring new skills motivates me”. “Motivated” alone is vague, and it makes your potential employer wonder why is it important to you to emphasize that you’re motivated? You may get yet another difficult question.

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1.  Skillful

Really? You have skills? Wow, I didn’t notice that by reading your resume. All humor aside, you now see how redundant this word is, and how it can be interpreted. Instead of saying skillful, try emphasizing the skills that are clearly seen in your resume.

Now that you’ve read this article, go through your resume and see if you’ve made the same mistakes as millions of people sending them out . Remove them and try searching for a way to include those qualities but in a different way. After all, you’re a skillful, creative and a capable person, aren’t you?

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Last Updated on November 15, 2021

20 Ways to Describe Yourself in a Job Interview

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20 Ways to Describe Yourself in a Job Interview

“Please describe yourself in a few words”.

It’s the job interview of your life and you need to come up with something fast. Mental pictures of words are mixing in your head and your tongue tastes like alphabet soup. You mutter words like “deterministic” or “innovativity” and you realize you’re drenched in sweat. You wish you had thought about this. You wish you had read this post before.

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    Image Credit: Career Employer

    Here are 20 sentences that you could use when you are asked to describe yourself. Choose the ones that describe you the best.

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    “I am someone who…”:

    1. “can adapt to any situation. I thrive in a fluctuating environment and I transform unexpected obstacles into stepping stones for achievements.”
    2. “consistently innovates to create value. I find opportunities where other people see none: I turn ideas into projects, and projects into serial success.”
    3. “has a very creative mind. I always have a unique perspective when approaching an issue due to my broad range of interests and hobbies. Creativity is the source of differentiation and therefore, at the root of competitive advantage.”
    4. “always has an eye on my target. I endeavour to deliver high-quality work on time, every time. Hiring me is the only real guarantee for results.”
    5. “knows this job inside and out. With many years of relevant experience, there is no question whether I will be efficient on the job. I can bring the best practices to the company.”
    6. “has a high level of motivation to work here. I have studied the entire company history and observed its business strategies. Since I am also a long-time customer, I took the opportunity to write this report with some suggestions for how to improve your services.”
    7. “has a pragmatic approach to things. I don’t waste time talking about theory or the latest buzz words of the bullshit bingo. Only one question matters to me: ‘Does it work or not?'”
    8. “takes work ethics very seriously. I do what I am paid for, and I do it well.”
    9. “can make decisions rapidly if needed. Everybody can make good decisions with sufficient time and information. The reality of our domain is different. Even with time pressure and high stakes, we need to move forward by taking charge and being decisive. I can do that.”
    10. “is considered to be ‘fun.’ I believe that we are way more productive when we are working with people with which we enjoy spending time. When the situation gets tough with a customer, a touch of humour can save the day.”
    11. “works as a real team-player. I bring the best out of the people I work with and I always do what I think is best for the company.”
    12. “is completely autonomous. I won’t need to be micromanaged. I won’t need to be trained. I understand high-level targets and I know how to achieve them.”
    13. “leads people. I can unite people around a vision and motivate a team to excellence. I expect no more from the others than what I expect from myself.”
    14. “understands the complexity of advanced project management. It’s not just pushing triangles on a GANTT chart; it’s about getting everyone to sit down together and to agree on the way forward. And that’s a lot more complicated than it sounds.”
    15. “is the absolute expert in the field. Ask anybody in the industry. My name is on their lips because I wrote THE book on the subject.”
    16. “communicates extensively. Good, bad or ugly, I believe that open communication is the most important factor to reach an efficient organization.”
    17. “works enthusiastically. I have enough motivation for myself and my department. I love what I do, and it’s contagious.”
    18. “has an eye for details because details matter the most. How many companies have failed because of just one tiny detail? Hire me and you’ll be sure I’ll find that detail.”
    19. “can see the big picture. Beginners waste time solving minor issues. I understand the purpose of our company, tackle the real subjects and the top management will eventually notice it.”
    20. “is not like anyone you know. I am the candidate you would not expect. You can hire a corporate clone, or you can hire someone who will bring something different to the company. That’s me. “

    Featured photo credit: Tim Gouw via unsplash.com

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