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Is Your Resume Packed With Clichés?

CareerBuilder survey finds that employers prefer strong action words

Resume ClichesIf you’re like most people your resume is jam packed with clichés’ like results-driven and detail oriented which are turnoffs to employers. So, if you want to be known for “thinking outside the box” you better find a new way of saying it. Same thing goes when it comes to being a “go-to person” according to a survey by CareerBuilder.

In the nationwide survey conducted in March 2014 by Harris Interactive, hiring managers and human resource professionals identified which commonly used resume words they felt were “overused or cliché” and which they considered “strong additions” to candidates resumes. The results indicated that employers are looking for action words that describe a candidate’s experience.

“Hiring managers prefer strong action words that define specific experience, skills and accomplishments,” said 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.”

Not surprisingly “Best of breed” topped the list of the worst offenders with “Achieved” winning the top spot for best resume terms. Here are the top ten best and worst.

Worst Resume Terms

  1. Best of breed
  2. Go-getter
  3. Think outside the box
  4. Synergy
  5. Go-to person
  6. Thought leadership
  7. Value add
  8. Results-driven
  9. Team player
  10. Bottom-line

Best Resume Terms

  1.  Achieved
  2. Improved
  3. Trained/Mentored
  4. Managed
  5. Created
  6. Resolved
  7. Volunteered
  8. Influenced
  9. Increased/Decreased
  10. Ideas

Although “detail-oriented” didn’t make the top ten, because it’s used so often we wanted to note that it ranked number fifteen on the worst terms list, not far behind “strategic thinker” and “self-motivated” which ranked twelve and fourteen, respectively.

To read the complete survey results visit CareerBuilder.

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