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4 Phrases You Should Never Have On Your Resume

4 Phrases You Should Never Have On Your Resume

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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.

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Don Goodman

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.


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Don Goodman Don Goodman, President of Best Resume Writing Service - About Jobs, is a nationally recognized career expert.