4 Ways To Turn Resume Fluff Into Marketable Facts

Happy man on laptop changing his resume fluff to marketable facts and results

Your resume is the most important document to advance your career. And given employers will only scan it for about 7-10 seconds, you need to make sure you scream, “Here's what I can do for you!"

There's a difference between a resume that only showcases your personality and characteristics and one that demonstrates specific achievements and accomplishments. Unfortunately, too many resumes are filled with fluff statements anyone can say and they don't really distinguish you as a top candidate.

A resume filled with terms such as "visionary" (how many of these do you really know?), "motivated," "team player," "problem solver," "results oriented," "dynamic," and many other phrases are examples of overused words.

To avoid creating a resume complete with fluff, try to turn to marketable facts and quantifiable accomplishments.

1. Don't Rely On Terms That Describe Character (Soft Skills)

Replace the use of terms that describe character with specific content to demonstrate how you accomplished or achieved something. Shed some light on your method of execution. A resume should not include soft skills.

For instance, to show you were "results oriented," indicate on your resume how you increased sales in your department by XY percent within a year or increased the number of attendees to an annual conference by XY percent compared to previous years.

If you don't actually have numbers, you can approximate percentages: "Introduced new procedures that slashed cycle times approximately 20%."

These are examples of quantifiable accomplishments. Don't be afraid to quantify your results on the job and prove you're the best fit for the position.

2. Use Numbers And Symbols

Man thinks about quantifying his accomplishments on his resume instead of adding fluff


Numbers and symbols quickly jump out at employers so use them whenever you can. Resumes have their own special rules and always show all numbers as digits as they catch the eye. Percentages are always best as they show the impact of your efforts.

For example, saying "increased sales $750,000 over prior year" is nice but to some companies that is petty cash and your company might not like your giving out their private information. It's better to say, "Increased sales 43% over prior year."

Simply avoid words that aren't specific, such as "many," "few," and "several."

3. Don't List Responsibilities Of Your Previous Jobs; Demonstrate Outcomes

Professional woman on laptop writes about outcomes and accomplishments on her resume


The problem with writing responsibilities you held on the job is it doesn't tell an employer how successful you were at executing your plans. An employer only cares about how good you did your job and how what you did can apply to the job they are offering.

Rather than list responsibilities, demonstrate your performance.

  • Are you the most senior member of your team?
  • Do people turn to you for the more challenging issues?
  • Is your productivity level higher than your peers?
  • Do you resolve issues on the first call versus others needing 2-3 calls?
  • Is your level of accuracy and the quality of your work at the highest level?
  • Have you demonstrated the ability to meet aggressive deadlines?

Statements like "consistently recognized for delivering quality results at less cost than budgeted" showcases your effectiveness, especially when you back that statement up with approximate numbers.

4. Only Detail Specialized Technical Skills

Professional man on laptop adds technical skills to his resume instead of fluff


Today's employers expect candidates to know basic computer skills and programs, so only list specialized technical skills that are relevant to the job. An employer does not need to see you know programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint.

Also, when you do list any technical skill, tell an employer how well you know the specific program by detailing what you may have created or done with it. Simply listing a specific program will not help an employer understand how well you know it or what your capabilities are.

Fill your resume with performance statements instead of fluff and you will see a dramatic improvement in your job search results.

Need more help with your job search?

Become a member to learn how to land a job and UNLEASH your true potential to get what you want from work!

This article was originally published at an earlier date.

From Your Site Articles
Related Articles Around the Web
Man on laptop enjoys summer while working full time

There you are: sitting on the beach, covered in sunscreen, reading your favorite book, drinking your favorite drink under the cool shade of an umbrella. Life doesn't get any better than this. Suddenly, a door slams, a phone rings, a printer turns on. You jolt back into consciousness. You're at work, sitting in your cubicle, without even a hint of sunshine streaming in from outside.

Read moreShow less