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.

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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

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