Sunday, March 31, 2013
Stop saying that! The top 10 things not to say on your resume! No, really!
We - resume writers - used to use the term "boilerplate" when it came to these adjectives and phrases people would pepper their resumes with. Trust me, hold the pepper. Boilerplate means "formulaic or hackneyed language". You could also say they're cliche, blasé, and or buzzwords. Don't tell me it's just your schtick. Stick your schtick, already. Your resume is not the place for these terms! It is best to
let your achievements do the talking!
Example: don't say that you're a team player if you point out that in your list of achievements you were a team member in a really important project - it's obvious you were a team player or you wouldn't be mentioning it! There's more...read on!
1. Hard working - Make a great resume, and anyone reading your resume will know that you are hard worker. Get good references, and they'll know you're a hard worker. Complete projects on time, mention the projects, tell 'em how you finished ahead of schedule, and - say it with me - they'll know you're a hard worker!
2. Self-starting - If you have been in a position in which you are basically a whole department or have supervised at least one other employee - even a part'-timer - you're a self starter. OR! If you handle projects regularly, and with little or no aid, you're a self starter...mention the projects and chuck the boilerplate terms!
3. Team player - Don't say that you're a team player if you point out that in your list of achievements you were a team member in a really important project - it's obvious you were a team player or you wouldn't be mentioning it!
4. Highly qualified - Mention your qualifications, even inflate them a bit, we all do it - and they'll know you are qualified. Or, even better, how about applying for a job you're qualified for, with the right list of qualifications, and then, you guessed it, they'll know you are highly qualified! By the way, don't just mention your qualifications - qualify them by listing your greatest achievements!
5. Dynamic - Show how you're dynamic - for example, you handled many different aspects of a tough project, coordinating performers, caterers, logistics, etc. See how dynamic you were?!
6. Problem solver - Show how you solved problems over the years in your work or your volunteerism.
7. Reliable - Leave it up to your references to illustrate how reliable you are. What is more, if you finish projects on time or ahead or time - guess what? - you're reliable!
8. Familiar with... - Say instead 'how' familiar you are with a software package, or a process. List years used and in what capacity. For example, if you've been a computer user since you were 8, it doesn't really count until you use a computer for work. Thus, say something like, expert computer user, 8 yrs professional computer use. I'm familiar with tae kwan do after watching some vids on it, but I can't really do it.
9. Flexible - Ok, yoga-tard, show how you were flexible, or actually be flexible and let your references do the talking. Flexibility on your resume can be illustrated thus: Handled large scale project while also completing regular duties, and met all deadline.
10. People person - If you've been in customer service since you graduated high school, you're probably a people person. If people skills are needed for the job you are applying for, highlight some good examples: handled customer complaints; increased staff morale with Holy Smoke It's Friday in-house program; stuff like that. Seeing "people person" on a resume makes me gag, then laugh, then gag again...sorry, but it's true.
Overall, boilerplate lines have been overdone - so stop doing it - you'll make more space for the things that matter. You've only got so much space to shine, so let's focus on the best you have to offer and can the canned terms!