I’m referring to the words that show me a lack of effort, determination, leadership or confidence. These words make me want to disqualify the applicant from consideration whenever I see them and sometimes I delete it.
Without further delay, here are the seven words I never want to see on a resume:
You have to approximate? You don’t know what you did or how you did it? Or you do know but creating a good first impression wasn’t a big priority for you when the resume was sent to me. If you don’t know – find out. If you do know – show some confidence and tell me exactly what you accomplished.
Unless you work in a dental office or vets, I don’t want to read about how you assist. We hire leaders here, so I want to know that you were the one being assisted. Tell me what you did, how you did it, and how many you lead in the process.
Never tell me what you wanted to do. Tell me what you did in an emphatic tone, including a quantitative statement, Good examples: “Increased customer satisfaction by 115%” and “Exceeded quota by an average of 31.2% every quarter”
4. Team player
We like team players; we do. However, can’t we find a creative way to demonstrate that you are, indeed, a team player? For instance, you could say that you take great pride in being a mentor; that 9 of your 12 team members went on to receive promotions. Or, you can tell me that your organization held a 76.5% retention rate. Anything but not team player
Implemented – like “followed” and “applied”; even “executed” – is a “monkey” word. As in, “any monkey could do that job.” We don’t hire monkeys, or followers, or implementers. We recruit people who think for themselves and can improve existing processes while getting the job done. The exception to this rule: if “implemented” is preceded by “planned and…”
Is anyone going to admit they were less-than-professional during their previous jobs? In your career, isn’t “professional” in the same obvious realm as “I breathe air”? Can’t we come up with a better word to describe how we conducted ourselves? Yes, we can. And I’d like to see a little more imagination.
Especially in today’s economy, we’re seeing way too much of this. I don’t get angry, because I understand that people are hungry for work – and are just hoping for a chance to show what they can do. Do yourself a favour, however: remove this word! There is no hope, at least from me, when you use “hopefully”. Instead try “certainly”, “will”, “always” etc.
Candidates: review your resume, cover letter and online presence. Do any of these words appear? If yes then get creative and word your CV in a way that demonstrates confidence and the ability to do what the job description asks for. Then monitor the response rate-you will certainly get a few more interviews.