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25 words that hurt your resume

Words don't tell potential employers as much as deeds

By Laura Morsch
CareerBuilder.com

Editor's Note: CNN.com has a business partnership with CareerBuilder.com, which serves as the exclusive provider of job listings and services to CNN.com.

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Material drawn from: "The Elements of Resume Style," by Scott Bennett. For more information, go to the author's Web site at http://www.click4careercoaching.com/

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So, you're experienced? Before you advertise this in your resume, be sure you can prove it.

Often, when job seekers try to sell themselves to potential employers, they load their resumes with vague claims that are transparent to hiring managers, according to Scott Bennett, author of "The Elements of Resume Style" (AMACOM).

By contrast, the most successful job seekers avoid these vague phrases on their resumes in favor of accomplishments.

Instead of making empty claims to demonstrate your work ethic, use brief, specific examples to demonstrate your skills.

In other words, show, don't tell.

Bennett offers these examples:

Instead of... "Experience working in fast-paced environment"

Try... "Registered 120+ third-shift emergency patients per night"

Instead of... "Excellent written communication skills"

Try... "Wrote jargon-free User Guide for 11,000 users"

Instead of... "Team player with cross-functional awareness"

Try... "Collaborated with clients, A/R and Sales to increase speed of receivables and prevent interruption of service to clients."

Instead of... "Demonstrated success in analyzing client needs"

Try... "Created and implemented comprehensive needs assessment mechanism to help forecast demand for services and staffing."

The worst offenders

It's good to be hard-working and ambitious, right? The hiring manager won't be convinced if you can't provide solid examples to back up your claims.

Bennett suggests being extra-careful before putting these nice-sounding but empty words in your resume.

  • Aggressive
  • Ambitious
  • Competent
  • Creative
  • Detail-oriented
  • Determined
  • Efficient
  • Experienced
  • Flexible
  • Goal-oriented
  • Hard-working
  • Independent
  • Innovative
  • Knowledgeable
  • Logical
  • Motivated
  • Meticulous
  • People person
  • Professional
  • Reliable
  • Resourceful
  • Self-motivated
  • Successful
  • Team player
  • Well-organized


  • © Copyright CareerBuilder.com 2005. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority
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