The One Phrase You Should NEVER Use On Your Resume

You’ve probably rewritten your resume at least once in the past few years. And you looked for examples to make sure you were following the latest advice. Advice like drop the objective, use a summary or position statement instead. And never use a functional resume; always use a chronological resume. Unless you have not-optimal circumstances, then use a functional resume. Related: Improve Your Resume Results With These 5 P’s Of Resume Writing Perhaps you’ve removed the “hard working, team player, results-driven, people person” description that you’ve learned can cause a hiring manager to quickly move on. Here’s the weird thing – chances are you’re still using the one phrase that you should NEVER use on your resume. You’re not alone. It seems 9 out of 10 resumes still use it. What is it? “Responsibilities include . . .” Or a variation such as “Responsible for” or “Duties include.”

Why You Shouldn’t

It seems like a harmless way to list what you did in a given position, so what’s the big deal? Two reasons… 1.) You want to show what you actually DID, as in ACCOMPLISHED, in that position, not just what that position required. Responsibilities are the baseline of what you were "supposed to" do in your job. A teenager might be "responsible" for keeping his bedroom clean, but does that mean he actually did it? Of course not. And, in fact, the "responsibility" of cleaning his room is the same responsibility that nearly every teenager has. Writing that he is "responsible for keeping his room clean" only establishes that he has the same baseline qualifications as his peers. It does nothing to differentiate him. 2.) You are in a competitive job market. An average of 75 to 200 resumes are submitted for corporate job openings, and of those, less than 5% of applicants are considered for the next step in the process. Your resume has to stand out, and if you’re just providing boring job descriptions, it won’t.

What To Include Instead

You need to list your ACCOMPLISHMENTS to show the value you provided in your last position, and the value you can bring to a new employer.
  1. Use active language to describe what you accomplished.
  2. Instead of just listing a particular skill or trait (e.g. customer relationship building, excellent team builder), provide examples of past achievements that demonstrate the value and benefits you produced as a result of applying that skill.
  3. Create power statements that show your action and result.
  4. Use numbers whenever possible.
Examples: “Increased customer satisfaction 25% as direct result of developing and implementing new, more efficient customer service process.” “Improved employee retention 20% in just 6 months by developing training that enhanced teamwork and strengthened skills of employees.”

The Bottom Line?

We are way beyond the fill-in-the-blank resume era. The simple resumes you learned to create in college, or early in your career, aren’t enough to compete in today’s job market. Your resume has to stand out by giving the hiring manager a clear, if brief, view of what they’re looking for to fill the position. Are you confident that your resume is achieving this bottom line? You don’t have to do it alone! Schedule a resume review with me. We’ll meet one-on-one by phone, I’ll assess your resume and recommend improvements that will make an immediate positive difference.

Related Posts

How To Customize Your Resume 3 Tips For Flaunting Your Value On Your Resume How To Make Dates On A Resume Work For You

About the author

Michelle Dumas founded Distinctive Career Services, LLC (formerly Distinctive Documents) in 1996, one of the Internet's longest-standing resume writing, personal branding, and career marketing firms. As one of only a handful of multiple certified professional resume writers, including the prestigious NCRW, CPRW, CPBS, CEIP, and JCTC credentials, Michelle is widely respected as an authority in the resume writing and employment services industries. Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

When most people think of Nike, they think of shoes, retail stores, and, of course, athletes. That's all true, but there's more. Behind Nike's walls, you'll find the doers and thinkers who design, create, and innovate every day. There are also data scientists who discover and leverage athlete insights to create the future of sport.

You might be surprised to learn about the impact you can have in Data & Analytics at Nike versus at a major tech giant. Nike employees get to work on a wide array of challenges, so if you're obsessed with math, science, computers, and/or data, and you love sport, these stories may inspire you to work at Nike.

SHOW MORE Show less

Employee loyalty is something every company longs for. It's estimated employee turnover costs as much as 130-200% of an employee's salary. When a talented, knowledgeable, trained employee leaves, it's bad for business. And, when lots of them leave, it can be the kiss of death.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the interview situation one of our viewers, Remi submitted. He was in an interview and was asked the question: How many cows are there in Canada right now? - What a weird question but this is a technique that some hiring managers are using these days.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Kevin submitted. He is a college student who's working a part time job to make ends meet. The manager/owner of the company has become a micro-manager who watches him work on camera and reads his company emails. A bit over the top wouldn't you say?

SHOW MORE Show less