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4 Phrases You Should Never Have On Your Resume

Sometimes the reason your resume gets dismissed by employers has nothing to do with your experience and skills. It simply could come down to 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—you want to also avoid certain phrases on your resume at all costs. Here are some of the top phrases to avoid on your resume:


1. "Job Duties"

Interviewed looking at resume with the phrase "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 (ATS) looking for matches in job description.

The problem with including this phrase on your resume is 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 effective phrase to use is "Accomplishments" to describe your work experience. You want to inform the employer of what you did on the job and prove that what you did produced valuable results. You always need to quantify your accomplishments on your resume. The first step in quantifying your accomplishments on your resume is getting rid of the phrase "job duties."

2. "Transferable Skills"

Employer tossing resume with the phrase "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 or hard skills 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"

An interviewer holds a resume with an 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. Replace an Objective Statement with a headline that defines the service you provide as an employee. For example, "Customer Service Specialist."

4. "References Available Upon Request"

A hiring manager goes through job applications with outdated phrases you should never include on resumes

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 as outdated since it was common practice to include it at the end of the resume years ago, before ATS changed the landscape of the job search process.

5. Even with all of this...you still might not get hired.

via GIPHY

That's right. Here at Work It Daily we pride ourselves on being 100% transparent about our company and the business, and that's the hard fact. Do you know why? It has NOTHING to do with you, but everything to do with the ATS system. The applicant tracking system recruiters and hiring managers use to sort through applicants is BROKEN, making the job search process unfair.

The bright side of this? We've created a FREE webinar highlighting all 8 ways you're being shut out of the hiring process and what to do about it! All you have to do is opt in in with your email (this is so we can send you more free career advice you're welcome to opt-out at anytime!) and you will have access to the entire thing, FOR FREE!

Interested? Sign up here to take back your job search today!

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!


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