Resume Clichés: What To Avoid And Why

Awhile back, a LinkedIn question asked about the ten most common (and least appreciated) resume clichés. Among the candidates were: results driven, detail oriented and team player. Related:Resume Mistakes: The 5 Worst Resume Sins When I write a resume, I’m less concerned with cliché words than cliché information. The words “team player” are perfectly fine to use - if your achievements and skills back them up. The examples in your resume should show what you’ve achieved as part of a team and should make you stand out from other candidates with similar claims. Compare these two descriptions using the cliché “strategic thinker”:


  • Strategic thinker: Able to come up with new approaches to serve the needs of customers.
  • Strategic thinker: Redirected business resources into products with larger payback, driving an additional $150,000 in annual sales.
The details in the second bullet prove the candidate does indeed think strategically. Those details change “strategic thinker” from a cliché into a very valuable skill. This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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I recently worked on a pro bono project for a friend, and it reminded me of a time early in my career and how lucky I was then to get such great advice from the more seasoned pros around me. Advice that ultimately saved me from some major pitfalls. I made mistakes here and there over the course of nearly 20 years of projects, but with each hiccup came a lesson. Here are some takeaways from my lessons learned and all that sage advice.

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