You know that your resume can make or break you when it comes to job hunting. A good one can mean a corner office and a nice salary increase. A bad one will simply end up in the shredder. As a result, you may have packed your resume with words and phrases that you think your potential employer wants to hear. However, all those clichés may be doing you more harm than good as a job applicant. You’ll never be able to stand out if your resume looks and sounds like everyone else’s. Here are five over-used terms that shouldn’t be on your resume:
1. Team player
If you’re going to work for a company, of course you should be a team player. This really goes without saying. Putting this phrase on your resume is just stating the obvious and will be a waste of valuable space. Instead, list the team projects you’ve worked on at your previous employer and explain how you contributed to those assignments. It’s always better to show than it is to tell.
2. Hard worker
Again, using a term like this does nothing to help differentiate you as a prospective employee. Work is hard. That’s why it’s called work. You’ll naturally be expected to put forth your best effort in any position you’re applying for. Having a strong work ethic is important, but you should find ways to demonstrate that you have it rather than just stating it.
When you’re being interviewed for a job, many potential employers will ask what you consider to be your biggest weakness. Being a perfectionist is usually the go-to answer. You might even be tempted to list it as a qualification on your resume. After all, everyone should strive to be perfect, right? Unfortunately, perfection is rarely attainable and claiming you can achieve it is both misleading and slightly pretentious. The hiring manager may feel you aren’t willing to let small issues go or that you think you’re incapable of making a mistake. Either way, it won’t end well for you as an applicant.
Innovative people rarely have to say so. In fact, saying that you’re innovative can convey that you really aren’t. This is one of most over-used terms on any resume and including it is far from inventive. If you feel you really bring something special to the table, you need to spell out why. List any ground-breaking projects you’ve been a part of as well as unique techniques you’ve pioneered at previous employers. Saying you’re creative doesn’t make you creative. Your abilities and experience will say more about your knack for thinking outside of the box.
5. Proven ability
Leaving this one off is kind of a no-brainer. While you can fill your resume with all kinds of qualifications, no one (not even you) can truly know how you’ll handle the responsibilities of a new job. Every position is different and everything from your work hours to your co-workers can have an impact on your performance. While having a good track record is beneficial, you won’t be able to prove yourself unless you actually get hired. It’s best to steer clear of a phrase like “proven ability” and opt for listing your knowledge or skills instead. That way, the hiring manager can be the one to decide if you’ll be a good fit and determine if you may prove to be an asset to the company.
When it comes to crafting a resume, the last thing you want to do is load it up with clichés. If your resume looks and sounds too similar to the rest of the pile, you may find yourself on a never-ending job hunt. Luckily, you can avoid the stereotypical resume by skipping the over-used terms on this list. Don’t pad your resume with words and phrases that mean nothing or might attract negative attention. You’ve only got one page to land that dream job. You better make it count!