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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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    Published on September 16, 2020

    12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

    12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

    Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

    Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

    Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

    Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

    Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

    Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

    1. Organization

    When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

    When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

    Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

    To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

    To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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    2. Flexibility

    You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

    Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

    For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

    To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

    To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

    3. Collaboration

    As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

    Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

    To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

    To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

    4. Poise

    Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

    When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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    What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

    To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

    To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

    5. Communication

    Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

    When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

    To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

    To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

    6. Good Computer Hygiene

    Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

    Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

    To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

    To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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    7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

    Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

    Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

    To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

    To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

    8. Respecting Feedback

    In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

    Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

    To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

    To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

    9. Project Management

    Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

    To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

    To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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    10. Staying up to Speed

    Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

    To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

    To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

    11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

    “Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

    To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

    To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

    12. Teamwork

    Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

    Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

    To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

    To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

    Final Thoughts

    Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

    More Tips to Improve Your Interview Skills

    Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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