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10 Words and Phrases That Can Ruin a Resume

10 Words and Phrases That Can Ruin a Resume

Charles Purdy, Monster+Hot Jobs senior editor

Your resume needs an update—that is, if your resume is like those of most people, it’s not as good as it could be. The problem is language: most resumes are a thicket of deadwood words and phrases—empty cliches, annoying jargon, and recycled buzzwords. Recruiters, HR folks, and hiring managers see these terms over and over again, and it makes them … sad.

Wouldn’t you rather make them happy? It’s time to start raking out your resume, starting with these (and similar) terms.

1. “Salary Negotiable”
Yes, they know. If you’re wasting a precious line of your resume on this term, it looks as though you’re padding—that you’ve run out of things to talk about. If your salary is not negotiable, that’d be sort of unusual (still, don’t put that on your resume).

2. “References available by request”
See the preceding comment about unnecessary terms.

3. “Responsible for ______”
Reading this term, the recruiter can almost picture the C-average, uninspired employee mechanically fulfilling his or her job requirements—no more, no less. Having been responsible for something isn’t something you did—it’s something that happened to you. Turn phrases like “responsible for” into “managed,” “led,” or other decisive, strong verbs.

4. “Experience working in ______”
Again, experience is something that happens to you—not something you achieve. Describe your background in terms of achievements.

5. “Problem-solving skills”
You know who else has problem-solving skills? Monkeys. Dogs. Mice. I once saw a YouTube video of an octopus that figured out how to open a jar. On your resume, stick to skills that require a human.

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