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10 Words to Avoid on Your Resume

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.

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 July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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