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7 Cliches You Should Avoid To Perfect Your Resume

7 Cliches You Should Avoid To Perfect Your Resume

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!

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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.

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resumenuts

    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:

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    • 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:

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    • 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!

    Featured photo credit: http://www.flazingo.com via flazingo.com

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    Robert Locke

    Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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    Last Updated on August 19, 2019

    20 Critical Skills to Include on Your Resume (For All Types of Jobs)

    20 Critical Skills to Include on Your Resume (For All Types of Jobs)

    A resume describes your critical skills in a way that compels a hiring manager to want to meet you. That is a resume’s sole purpose.

    And make no mistake: Writing a resume is an art.

    Today each corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes on average, and somehow yours will need to rise above the competition. It’s actually harder to snag an interview from an online posting than to get into Harvard. But don’t let that intimidate you. Instead, open your laptop, roll up your proverbial sleeves, and let’s get to work!


    Employers generally prefer candidates with skills that show leadership ability, problem-solving ability, and perseverance through challenges. So in the resume, you should demonstrate that you’re a dynamic candidate.

    Refine the skills on your resume so that you incorporate these resume “musts:”

    1. Leadership Ability

    Even an entry-level employee can show leadership. Point out how your skills helped your department ascend to a new level. Capture leadership attributes with compelling statements.

    Example:

    “Led change that drove efficiency and an ability to cut 800 error-free payroll checks.”

    2. Problem-Solving Ability

    Most employees are hired to solve problems. Showcase that ability on your resume.

    Example:

    “Led staff in campaign to outrival top competitor’s market share during a down cycle.”

    3. Perseverance

    Have you been promoted several times? Or have you maintained margins in a down cycle? Both achievements demonstrate persistence. You look like someone who can navigate roadblocks.

    4. Technical Skills

    Consider including a Key Skills or Technology Skills section in which you list computer and software skills.

    Example:

    “Expert-level knowledge in Java.”

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    5. Quantified Results

    Nothing is quite as attractive as objective results. Did you increase sales by 25 percent? Win three new clients? Surpass the internal goal by 15 percent?

    Use hard-hitting numbers to express your point. State the result first, and then provide a sentence or phrase describing the critical skills you applied to achieve the milestone.

    Example:

    “Boosted sales by 200 percent by developing new online platform that made it easier for customers to compare and contrast sizes, textures, and fit.”

    6. People Skills

    Employers prefer congenial staff members to prima donnas or mavericks. Relate your strongest soft skills.

    Example:

    “Organized, hard-working staffer who listens well and communicates effectively.”

    7. Passion in the Field

    Recruiters and hiring managers can intuit whether candidates care about their career performance by the dynamism behind the descriptions of their skills on their resumes. Are your efforts “transformational” or merely “useful?” Were your results “game-changing” or boringly “appropriate?”

    The tenor of your words reveals whether you’re passionate or passive. (But don’t overdo it. See the “Hyperbole” section below.)

    8. Being the Entrepreneur within the Corporation

    Whether you took the initiative to create a new synergy or worked independently to land an opportunity, share how you furthered organizational goals through your self-directed efforts.

    9. Your Adaptability

    Have you switched career paths? Weathered a corporate takeover?

    Make it clear that your resilience helped get you and your organization through the turbulence.

    10. Confirming Your Expertise

    Every job posting states experience requirements. Ideally, you want to meet these requirements or best them. But don’t exaggerate.


    While proving that you possess the credentials described in the job posting, you can still stand out if you are able to offer additional special skills to showcase your personality.

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    Consider adding any of these special accomplishments, if true:

    11. Referencing Award-Winning Talents

    If you played center on your college basketball team that made it into the Top 10 finals, then working collaboratively and cooperatively are among your natural callings. Be sure to say so.

    12. Unveiling Your Work Persona

    If you were repeatedly singled out for your stellar performance in work settings, becoming employee-of-the-month, top revenue generator, and so on — it’s worth mentioning.

    13. Capitalizing on Commonalities

    From Googling the hiring manager, you discover that she was formerly a Peace Corps volunteer in Belize. Listing your Spanish immersion course in Central America may draw her attention to the other outstanding skills on your resume.

    14. Highlighting Creative Tactics

    If, for example, in your HR role, you piloted an employee incentive program that became an industry model, include it. Such innovative thinking will command an employer’s attention.

    15. Specifying All Accolades

    Listing any honors received instills confidence that you will bring that level of perfectionism forward in a corporate environment.

    16. Transferable Skills

    You spend your spare time conducting your community orchestra. Highlight this after-hours pursuit to show that you have the critical skills needed to keep a team on task.


    Take note: Hyperbole can hurt you. So, show your credibility.

    Although it may be tempting to use embellishments to boost your experience, improve your job title, or enhance your education, resist. These days, a five-minute search will reveal the truth. And taking self-inflation too far could easily come back to destroy your career.

    Hiring managers have their antenna up for resume hyperbole. A survey shows that 53 percent are suspicious that candidates are often dishonest.

    Follow these guiding principles when writing your own resume:

    17. Accurately Describing Your Degree

    Make sure to differentiate between certificates attained and degrees earned, along with the name of the institution awarding them.

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    18. Stating Job Duration with Honest Dates

    Honesty is the only policy when reporting the length of a particular job. If you’ve been out of work for an extended period of time, state the reason you have gaps.

    Whether you traveled, had to cope with a family emergency, or went back to school to change your professional track, communicate the positive outcome that came from the hiatus.

    19. Claiming Only the Skills You Truly Possess

    Unless you’re proficient in a software program or are fluent in a second language, leave any mention of them off.

    Conversely, if you feel like you must include them, then accurately qualify your level of competence.

    20. Being Honest About Your Role in a Project

    You may think you were the lead person because you did most of the work, but chances are your supervisor thinks otherwise.

    Besides the 20 critical skills to include on your resume, here’re some important notes for you.

    Bonus Tips for Writing a Resume

    You Only Have 6 to 7 Seconds to Impress the Employer

    Hiring managers and artificial intelligence “bots” may spend only 6 to 7 seconds perusing your resume, which means you need it to teem with essential skills, quantifiable achievements, and action words.

    If, in fact, you believe that a “bot” will be analyzing your resume before it even lands on a hiring manager’s desk, be sure to include some of the actual key words from the posting in your document. There’s no reason why you can’t customize your resume to each job posting.

    Another tip: Be sure to show your resume to a few individuals who work in your field, so that you can fine-tune the information as needed.

    Starting at the Top

    The Objective at the top of your resume is optional if you’re seeking the same job you already have, just at different company. However, if you’re switching fields, it’s critical to include an Objective, which is a one-sentence summary of the job you want.

    For example:

    Objective: To become web editor at a thriving news website.

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    If you’ve been in your field for ten years or more, you will probably want to include an Executive Summary. This is a one-sentence takeaway about who you are, including the critical skills you amassed throughout your career.

    For example:

    Executive Summary: Award-winning creative director with over ten years experience managing teams on three continents.

    Depending on your field, you may also want to add some skills as bullet points in the Executive Summary section.

    And what about your Education? If you graduated from college within the past ten years, include your Education just below the Objective section (and forgo the Executive Summary). If it’s been over ten years since you graduated, then include your Education at the very end of your resume. Only cite your grade point average (G.P.A.) if it was exceptional—3.7 G.P.A. or higher, or if you won scholastic awards.

    Ideally, the critical skills you amassed during college, at your previous job, and throughout your career will add up to a riveting portrait of a professional who’s ideally suited for your dream position: You.

    Tailor, Tweak, and Fine-Tune

    If you’re targeting different kinds of organizations, you’ll need customized resumes for each outreach.

    Don’t be afraid to parrot some of the words on the list of requirements back to the company. Many times, organizations will actually use the key words mentioned in the job posting when screening resumes.

    Approach Your Resume as a Skills-Based Story

    Like any good storyteller, lay out the framework at the beginning. Include the skills you’ve mastered and state how you can add value—wording your sentences in a way that reflects the specific job you’re seeking.

    Are you vying for a sales position? Quantify your results: “Responsible for 50 percent of all sales that resulted in $750,000 in annual revenue.” Use your critical skills, peppered throughout your resume, to tell the exciting story of your distinguished professional career!

    Researching the organization that you’re targeting will help you make your examples specific. Does the company cater to a particular audience or clientele? Be sure to note any experiences you’ve had with similar audiences.

    Putting It All Together

    A resume is not a laundry list. It tells a cohesive story. Your story should highlight your qualifications and critical skills in a way that makes a logical, well-constructed case for your compatibility with the organization and its advertised position.

    Packaging your story into the concisely prescribed format of a resume means that it will read as a synopsis — one that will hopefully land you the job.

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    Featured photo credit: Bram Naus via unsplash.com

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