In this recovering economy, the job competition can be cutthroat, and job seekers are suiting up and bringing their A game to the fight. Employers are getting hundreds and hundreds of applications and résumés for every job posting. And, since most employers spend an average of only 20 to 30 seconds reviewing each résumé, it’s important to make sure yours doesn’t fall through the ropes.
A résumé that is concise, scanable, and still packed full of the right information is a great start to get you noticed as a top-notch contender. And, including power words can add a strong punch. But, adding the wrong words can be a knockout that leaves your résumé down for the count. So, make sure your résumé doesn’t have these commonly used words before you enter the job search ring.
Responsible. A job is defined as a duty, a function, or something that has to be done. Every job is a responsibility. So it’s understood if you’ve had previous job experience that you were responsible for something. Your résumé is about listing your accomplishments, not your responsibilities. So, instead of using a vague and common term to describe your work history, give specific and quantifiable facts and figures to impress your perspective employer. For example, instead of saying “responsible for office sales,” provide information like “sold X number of units and increased company sales by 46% in 2009.”
My. Or me, or I. These are first person pronouns and should not be used on your résumé. Since it’s understood that it’s “your” résumé, words like “I” are unnecessary and redundant. And, they can make your résumé appear unpolished, unprofessional, and even too “you” centered. So, make sure your résumé isn’t sucker punched by first person pronouns. Instead, begin sentences with action verbs like reduced, developed, programmed, etc.
Successful. If you weren’t successful at something, you certainly wouldn’t have it on your résumé. Perspective employers want to know how you can impact their bottom line and grow their business, so show them you’re a champion who can provide results by giving detailed and precise examples on your résumé. Don’t waste space saying you were successful. Give specific instances that prove you were.
Dependable. Like the word successful, using broad, overused terms, including dependable or reliable, won’t distinguish you from other job seekers. To set yourself apart, offer tangible examples of your work experience. Use numbers and data. And focus on results. Demonstrate your dependability by conveying how previous employers relied on you by sharing your achievements and growth.
Team player. Hiring a team player is important to every employer. But, the term is liberally used on most résumés and has essentially become a waste of space. Demonstrate your ability to work with others by describing the teams you worked with and what you achieved together. For example, instead of simply saying you’re a “team player who works well with others” explain how by using examples like “worked with IT, HR, and marketing departments to develop companywide leadership training initiative for 3,000 employees.”
With a limited amount of space on your résumé – only a page or two – to present your abilities and work history, it’s easy to get stuck on broad, commonly used words to convey your skills. But you can add the clout and punch your résumé needs by concentrating on communicating how you were responsible, why you were successful, and when you were a team player. Quantify and explain your qualities. By focusing on your accomplishments and avoiding overused terms, your competition won’t stand a fighting chance.