Even if you believe your resume is perfect, consider yourself in the place of a recruiter. They go through hundreds of resumes every single day! To recruiters, many resumes look the same and become indistinguishable from one another in their stacks. If you’re relying on cliches and conventional language, you won’t stand out as much—or be as desirable to potential employers—as you considered yourself to be.

Don’t let one word of your resume be wasted away! A recruiter will spend an average of six to 10 seconds on every resume. Make sure that you make the most out of those valuable moments by ensuring nothing detracts from your credibility in any way.

Undoubtedly, you wish to make your resume stand out from the rest. Are you interested in securing a job? You can stand out from the competition by using unique and creative language rather than standard, overused phrases. To maximize your success, it is essential to be aware of the phrases you should avoid.

Eliminate these seven worn-out phrases from your resume and you will be one step closer to capturing the attention of recruiters, setting yourself apart from other applicants, and ensuring that you are no longer overlooked.

1. Avoid meaningless adjectives.

Phrases such as “seasoned manager” or “influential leader” without an explanation may cause your resume to read like a work of fiction – make sure to back up these claims with examples!

Enhance your resume by replacing qualitative descriptions with concrete numbers and figures that showcase how long you’ve been in the field, what technical abilities you possess, and the successes that are a direct result of your efforts. Even better, incorporate visuals such as graphs and diagrams to illustrate your past accomplishments.

Adding visuals to your resume can be a powerful tool for communicating credibility and persuading the recruiter of your qualifications. While not everyone does this, it is an effective way to make sure that recruiters will take you seriously when making their hiring decisions.

2. Cut out “creative.”

“Creative” may appear to be the ideal term for highlighting your distinctive persona, however, thousands of other candidates might have similar ideas. Recruiters have become so accustomed to this word that they no longer take notice of it.

For two consecutive years, “Creative” topped the list of cliché terms in LinkedIn’s annual survey. Despite that many professionals on this networking site don’t practice creative fields, they still include the word “creative” in their profiles.

Rather than simply stating it, let the recruiter know what makes you creative by providing them with tangible examples. (Share this thought on Twitter by clicking here!.) Craft a captivating cover letter or develop an eye-catching video resume to showcase the features of your career. Incorporate engaging (yet professional) information about yourself and you’ll have a striking resume combined with an unforgettable cover letter in one neat package.

3. Remove “results-oriented.”

When I express that I’m “results-oriented,” what does this mean to you? Are you striving to reach the goals your employer has set for you? This should go without saying; employers search for individuals who are motivated to succeed and produce results.

Show the recruiter what kind of person you are through details, and don’t rely on generic phrases such as “results-oriented” that won’t make an impact. This interpretation is based on personal judgment. Put the spotlight on your capabilities and successes by including the titles of projects or initiatives you were involved in, followed by their outcomes.

4. Take out “passionate.”

Saying you are passionate can have a variety of interpretations. While some recruiters may interpret it as enthusiasm for the job, others might perceive it as desperation to get a job. It all comes down to how well you express your true passion and interest in the role when communicating with recruiters.

They can easily verify if you are passionate about your job, there will be evidence on social media accounts like Twitter and Facebook. Your posts should show just how thrilled you are with the progress in your career, quickly demonstrating to potential employers that this is something you truly care about.

Leave out “passionate” and words of the same ilk that are intended for romantic works. Instead, highlight your enthusiasm for what you do by providing concrete examples of your work. For example, if you are a programmer, showcase the apps that you have developed either professionally or recreationally. Showcase these personal projects and express to potential employers how much joy they bring to you!

5. Rid your resume of “responsible for.”

When a recruiter reads this phrase, it conjures the image of an employee who simply robotically performs their job. Nothing more and nothing less. Revise this phrase to “administered X,” “accomplished X tasks,” or similar action verbs that illustrate leadership and initiative.

6. Get rid of “guru.”

The term “Guru” is undeniably impressive, don’t you think? By labeling yourself a guru on your resume, you may come off as someone desperate to appear knowledgeable. Don’t label yourself a guru, ninja, or pro. Allow others to characterize you in that way if they choose, but abstain from doing so on your behalf.

Discard these self-proclaimed labels. To show your expertise, why not list published books or articles, interviews you have given, presentations you have delivered, and any other achievements that could illustrate your contribution to the industry?

Bear in mind that misrepresenting yourself during the interview will only harm your outcome.

7. Axe has “excellent oral and written communication skills.”

Although this is a valuable and important soft skill, it doesn’t need to be mentioned on your resume by recruiters.


Hiring managers have the power to assess your communication skills in mere moments! If your resume and cover letter are unable to demonstrate why you deserve an interview, then what good is it claiming that you have “exceptional communication abilities”?

Polishing your resume? Eliminate any grammar mistakes and superfluous words. Cut the filler phrases so that you can make an impactful impression.

To be sure you land your next great job, spend a little extra time crafting an eye-catching resume that will make employers take notice. Investing an additional 30 minutes can help secure the opportunities of your dreams! Take a minute to inspect your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile for overused phrases or buzzwords. Create a duplicate of the initial files so that you can accurately compare them before and after applying these modifications. You will be amazed at how much difference such small changes make!

Let us know what transformation you have made in the comments below!

Photo: Thinkstock

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