The wrong words can sabotage your resume, and nearly all of us have at least a few of these words on our resumes. Learn the 7 types of words that can have a severe impact on your chances of getting an interview.
1. Generic Attributes
These words are on everyone’s resume. They are so common that hiring managers simply don’t even read them. Do not bore the reader to tears with these trite, overused and tired phrases.
- Hard worker
- Excellent communication skills
- Strong work ethic
- Personable presenter
It is much more effective to write description that is action-based and demonstrates these abilities rather than just laying claim to them. For example, rather than just stating you are an “excellent presenter,” you could say something like “Developed and presented 50+ multi-media presentations to C-level prospects resulting in 35 new accounts totaling $300,000 in new revenues.”
2. Age Attributes
Under qualified candidates often try to look more mature. Over qualified candidates sometimes try to look more youthful. Hiring managers know these tricks. Candidates near retirement are often the worst offenders. Words to avoid:
- Professional Appearance
3. Health Attributes
Candidates who claim to be “healthy” are telling hiring managers they feel they fear getting to0 sick to do the job. Candidates with past medical issues are the worst offenders here. Words to avoid.
4. Appearance Attributes
Candidates who claim to be “attractive” are telling the hiring manager they get by on their looks instead of their skills. Let the hiring manager see how attractive you are at the interview, but don’t expect to get that interview because you are attractive.
Age, health, appearance phrases to avoid:
Let the hiring manager see how healthy and fit you are when you come for an interview. Don’t expect claiming to be as such will get you an interview in the first place.
5. Passive Voice Words
Forget what you learned in school and don’t write in passive voice. Many people write in passive voice because that is how we’ve been taught to write “formally” in high school composition and then in freshman college English. Its wrong for resumes.
Indicators of the passive voice:
- Responsible for
- Duties included
- Served as
- Actions encompassed
Rather than saying “Responsible for management of three direct reports” change it up to “Managed 3 direct reports.” It is a shorter, more direct mode of writing and adds impact to the way the resume reads.
6. Hyper-Active Words
Hyper-active words are verbs that are too violent or aggressive to be used on a resume. They’re usually verbs better suited to a comic book than a resume.
- Smashed numbers through the roof
- Electrified sales team to produce
- Pushed close rate by 10%
- Destroyed sales competition
- Blew away sales goals
7. Profile Words
These are Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or the DISC Profile. While the results from these evaluations can be invaluable to the job seeker for evaluating an opportunity in terms of “fit”, employers and recruiters are more interested in performance results. Do not inadvertently “pigeon-hole” yourself by including your profile results in the resume. Words to avoid:
- A-type Personality
- D Profile
- Alpha Male
Consider your word choice in a resume. A resume is a marketing document for your career just as a brochure is a marketing document for a product or service. Companies put careful thought and consideration into each and every word that goes into marketing copy and you should do the same in your resume.