4 Phrases You Should Never Have On Your Resume

Sometimes it’s not about experience and skills that’s the cause of a resume getting dismissed, but simply having phrases that turn employers off. On top of avoiding overused buzzwords on the resume like “creative,” “innovative,” “visionary,” “team player,” “motivated,” “highly skilled,” “hard worker,” “passionate,” and “driven” – that are really blank statements that don’t demonstrate anything (Read more: “Is Your Resume Full Of Overused Buzzwords?”) – you want to also avoid certain phrases on the resume. Related: 3 Tips For Flaunting Your Value On Your Resume Here are some of the top phrases to avoid on your resume:


1. Job Duties

Job Duties essentially says to the employer that these are my responsibilities on the job. Well that’s fine if the only one you need to impress is the Applicant Tracking System looking for matches in job description, but it doesn’t inform the hiring manager how well you perform on the job – and they (the human) ultimately has the final say as to whether your resume is a keeper or not. A more attractive phrase to use is Accomplishments to describe your work experience. You want to inform the employer what you did on the job produced valuable results.

2. Transferable Skills

While professional resume writers speak of highlighting “transferable skills” on the resume when you’re looking to make a career change or when you don’t have the exact work experience the employer may be looking for, the specific term should be avoided on the resume. When hiring managers and recruiters see “transferable skills” on the resume, it basically sends the message of “I don’t have the exact experience you’re looking for, but….” A more effective phrase to use is Skills or Skill Set. It doesn’t bring attention to the fact that you aren’t a direct match with what they are looking for, but goes straight to the point of what you can offer that is of value to them.

3. Objective Statement

Traditionally the Objective Statement takes a prime spot at the top of the resume detailing what you the job seeker is looking for, but that’s no way to compete in today’s job market. The opening of your resume needs to make a bold statement informing the employer what you can do for them. Start the resume with a Profile Summary. For more tips, read: "How to Craft a Killer Resume Opening."

4. References Available Upon Request

You can assume all employers will go through a reference check before they hire you. Including the phrase on your resume is simply a waste of space and makes your resume come across outdated since it was common practice to include it at the end of the resume back in the days. Today’s job seekers need a well-polished resume to compete. Avoiding overused buzzwords and phrases that say nothing or that may imply something negative will help keep you in the running. We know today’s hiring managers and recruiters get more applicants than needed for each job opening, so don’t let bad phrases be the cause for them turning away your resume! This post was originally published at an earlier date.

Related Posts

How Far Back Should Your Resume Go? Is Your Resume A Career Obituary? How To List Temporary Work On Your Resume Effectively

About the author

Don Goodman’s firm was rated as the #1 Resume Writing Service in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Don is a triple-certified, nationally recognized Expert Resume Writer, Career Management Coach and Job Search Strategist who has helped thousands of people secure their next job. Check out his Resume Writing Service. Get a Free Resume Evaluation or call him at 800.909.0109 for more information. 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

All work and no play can create a tense and unwelcoming environment. Studies have shown that employers that offer additional perks have employees that are happier and more loyal to their place of employment. If you are looking for an employer that acknowledges how important it is to give its employees a place to de-stress and bond with their co-workers, check out these companies!

SHOW MORE Show less

In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if you worked for an owner who micro-manages you my watching you work on camera and reading through your company emails.

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

SHOW MORE Show less