The best (and worst) words to have on your résumé

By Tony Valdivieso

Do you consider yourself a hard worker? A real go-getter? Someone who likes to think outside of the box? Then you’re just the type of person who needs to review their résumé ASAP.
A recent CareerBuilder survey found there are some words hiring managers and human resources pros just don’t want to see on your résumé. And if you’ve called yourself a go-to person, a team player or a strategic thinker, you’ll need to make a few changes before you send your résumé to anyone else.

The deal-breakers
Unless you want to end up on an employer’s “Do not call” list, think twice before you put any of these empty words on your résumé — they won’t accomplish as much as you might hope.
  1.  Best of breed: 38 percent
  2.  Go-getter: 27 percent
  3.  Think outside of the box: 26 percent
  4.  Synergy: 22 percent
  5.  Go-to person: 22 percent
  6.  Thought leadership: 16 percent
  7.  Value add: 16 percent
  8.  Results-driven: 16 percent
  9.  Team player: 15 percent
  10.  Bottom-line: 14 percent
  11.  Hard worker: 13 percent
  12.  Strategic thinker: 12 percent
  13.  Dynamic: 12 percent
  14.  Self-motivated: 12 percent
  15.  Detail-oriented: 11 percent
  16.  Proactively: 11 percent
  17.  Track record: 10 percent
You don’t have much time
Given the amount of time your résumé has to make an impression, it should come as no surprise that your choice of words can be exactly the reason you aren’t brought in for an interview. In fact, if you get more than a couple minutes of attention, you should consider yourself lucky.
Sixty-eight percent of hiring managers and human resources pros will spend two minutes or less reviewing each résumé they receive; 17 percent will actually spend 30 seconds or less.
“Hiring managers prefer strong action words that can be used to define specific experience, skills and accomplishments,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “Subjective terms and clichés are seen as negative, because they don’t convey real information. For instance, don’t say you are ‘results-driven;’ show the employer your actual results.”

The words they actually want to see
If you felt like you really had something when you called yourself “hard-working,” there’s a lot of room for improvement. (Besides, that’s something almost everyone would say.) Employers don’t simply want to know what you think about yourself; they want to see results. If you really are a hard worker, prove it by backing up that claim with some data.
Rather than focusing on your previous duties to capture your relevant experience, focus on what you’ve been able to achieve using your relevant skills. The following terms — mostly verbs — should help you refocus your résumé on what truly matters. As an added bonus, hiring managers would love to see these terms:
  1.  Achieved: 52 percent
  2.  Improved: 48 percent
  3.  Trained/mentored: 47 percent
  4.  Managed: 44 percent
  5.  Created: 43 percent
  6.  Resolved: 40 percent
  7.  Volunteered: 35 percent
  8.  Influenced: 29 percent
  9.  Increased/decreased: 28 percent
  10.  Ideas: 27 percent
  11.  Negotiated: 25 percent
  12.  Launched: 24 percent
  13.  Revenue/profits: 23 percent
  14.  Under budget: 16 percent
  15.  Won: 13 percent
The bottom line: You can’t afford to make a bad first impression, and you don’t have a lot of time to make a good first impression. With some hiring managers, you’ll have 30 seconds to make your case, and the numbers say you probably won’t make it past two minutes.
Highlight your accomplishments and sell just how important your skills have been. If you’ve received honors or awards, make sure to find room for them. Focus on what you think will cause hiring managers to stop and take a second look at your name — you can likely find more unique things to say about yourself than “I’m a hard worker.”

The Weekly Roundup: 5 Steps to a Killer Resume

Getty Images

Five experts show you how to craft the perfect calling card

​How do you boil your career down into one or two concise, compelling pages? How can you craft the perfect resume? This is possibly the most confounding and tricky piece of the job search. HR or the hiring manager will likely judge your resume in seconds. Get it right and you may wind up on the top of the stack. Get it wrong and you will get nowhere. The truth is there is no definitive blueprint for the perfect resume, but there are a lot of great resume building strategies that will optimize your skills, experience and accomplishments. Let's look to the experts for insights on how to build, update and troubleshoot your resume:

hubspot logo

How to Write a Standout Resume and Land Your Next Marketing Job

Hubspot takes a marketer's approach to building a killer resume. If you're thinking, "I'm not a marketer," please hold that thought and read on. We are ALL marketers these days and let the inbound experts guide you in how to market YOU! They've got five tips to help you write the resume and a bonus link to ten stellar templates.

daily muse logo

45 Quick Changes That Help Your Resume Get Noticed

No time for a complete resume overhaul, but that CV is looking dusty and tired? If you've got 2 minutes, maybe 5 or even 10-15, The Daily Muse has a ton of speedy updates and touch-ups grouped by the amount of time you have. A little tweak here or a bit of extra polish here could be the quick fix your resume needs.

career bliss logo

Resume Tip Tuesday: When is it OK to Include Short Stints?

You came, you worked, you left...quickly. How do you showcase brief, but valuable experience at jobs that didn't last long? Yep, it can be tricky and a possible red flag for hiring managers. Career Bliss talks to HR pros and outlines the safest route through these potentially treacherous waters.

doostang logo
Major Resume Myths

One page? Two pages? Do I need an objective statement? Everybody is an expert and has an opinion about resumes. Guess what? They are often dead wrong. Doostang debunks the myths and offers simple, straightforward advice on some resume basics. It's all blocking and tackling, folks.

careerealism logo

Optimizing Your Resume With Keywords

Let's finish off with a little science from our friends at Careerealism. If you are applying online for jobs, chances are a computer will scan your resume first. Find out how to run circles around applicant tracking systems and move one step closer to your next gig with the power of KEYWORDS.

Let's hope these tips and ideas helped buff your resume to a nice recruiter-friendly sheen. Let me know about YOUR favorite resume building strategies and tools in comments. A job seeker's resume is never done. However, this week is over and the weekend begins now. Good luck on the job hunt and see you next week.

This Resume Tool Got Me a Job in 5 Months

The resume addendum works well if your job history is long

Let's shake on it!
Getty Images/Vetta
Any job posted on online boards today gets hundreds of resumes submitted. The quantity received by HR recruiters is so overwhelming that jobs are frequently taken down within hours. With so many resumes hitting a recruiter's desk, how can you differentiate your application, particularly when your experience is unconventional?

Although it's recommended to tailor your resume to the job, with only hours to spare, it's not always time-efficient to rewrite a resume. To respond in a timely fashion to unique opportunities I created a new technique - the Resume Addendum.

Why I Needed an Addendum
In my job search, I was attracted to posts in industries where my skills were applicable but my most recent industry affiliations were not. I had been a marketing director for many years, but in the latter years my resume was heavily weighted in the media. Since my resume had been tailored to highlight just the last 15 years of my career, much of my original experience and training in alternative industries such as health care were no longer obvious.

The first key difference was in the opening of each document. My resume started with my contact info and a summary of my senior-level marketing experiences. In stark contrast, the addendum started with an aggregated total of specific industry experiences, and showcased relevant education certifications and conferences that were not in my resume.


Although my masters' degree was on my resume, it was at the bottom well after more timely professional experience, and it did not mention the health certification. The degree on my resume served to qualify me for positions that required advanced degrees, but the certification was not relevant. On the addendum, the certification was critical to show industry-specific training.

Addendums versus Resumes
Other contrasts between the two documents included:
  • The Resume had dates. The Addendum did not.
  • The Resume had no health care references and some association experience. The Addendum only had health and association references.
  • A Resume can be longer than one page. An Addendum is one page.
In general, my resume showcased my most recent and digitally engaging marketing accomplishments. In contrast, my addendum highlighted older training and experience relevant for the targeted industry.

For instance, in my job at the Press of Atlantic City my resume highlighted my digital revenue projects, audience growth initiatives in social media, and events management. The addendum detailed the health care clients and projects that fell within my larger job responsibilities.

Resume Example:

Addendum Example:

After the intro shown in the resume example, my detailed Press experience fills a full half page of a two-page resume. The Press experience on the addendum is limited to exactly what's shown above, but only discusses health-oriented experiences.

Resumes Rule
The Addendum never replaces a resume. It is, as titled, an addition to the resume to provide pertinent information. In my case I had two addendums. One was specifically for association jobs in any field from construction to engineering. The second combined health care and association experiences and was sent to associations such as the American Heart Association and National Celiac Foundation, both of which resulted in interviews.

The addendum serves one other purpose. With dozens of resumes that essentially look alike, the Addendum can catch a recruiter's eye just because it is different. It's a case of adding a page to catch attention. A Resume Addendum is not for everyone, but for several job postings it worked to get me an initial interview, and it may work for you. 

RELATED TOPICS

Followers