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5 Surprising Words to Avoid on Your Resume

When you're writing your resume, you want to make sure that it's written effectively. Part of that means avoiding words and phrases that can make your resume sound cliche or boring. We've detailed some of the most common words that hiring managers see on resumes, and why they often don't do what you think they do.

Take a look at these 5 words you should avoid on your resume:


While passionate is not a bad word, it's often used by people who are not passionate. If you find yourself using this word when describing your professional life, it might be time to pause and consider whether or not you're right for the job.


The next time you’re writing a resume, avoid using words like “organized” and “efficient.” While these are fine words to describe yourself in the interview, they don't really tell an employer anything about your skills or experience.

Instead of saying that you're organized and efficient, explain how being organized helps you accomplish your goals: "I am able to complete projects on time by carefully scheduling my work." Or try something like this: "As a result of my attention to detail, I have been able to improve quality control processes."

It's also possible that being too organized could be viewed as overbearing by some employers - for example if it leads them to believe that you'd micromanage other employees if hired.

Extensive experience

One of the most common words in resumes is “extensive.” It's a vague word that doesn't tell the reader much about your experience or what you can do for them. Instead, focus on being specific and using numbers when possible. For example, instead of saying you have extensive experience with Google Analytics, say that you have four years of experience with it or that you've been using it for three months consistently.

Another problem with this word is that it doesn't help employers understand what they're hiring for. If someone has extensive knowledge in one area but not another (for example), they might not be as helpful to an employer who has no idea where their skills would fit into their company.


[Motivated] is a word that should be avoided at all costs on resumes, cover letters and in interviews. For example:

"I am motivated by working in a team environment."

What's wrong with this statement? It doesn't tell the reader anything about you! What are your strengths? What do you bring to the table? How will your personality make an impact on the organization? Focus on statements that help your experience stand out from the rest of the pack—what have been some of your successes, what can you bring to this job that others can't (and don't use "motivated" as part of it).


Effective, in and of itself, is not a word that conveys any specific meaning or value. As a result, it's only useful as a general term of praise for good performance. If you use words like effective on your resume (or anywhere else), it's going to make the hiring manager wonder what exactly you're doing that makes you effective at what you do.

Instead, focus on using specific terms that convey your unique value and experience: "Achieved 100% revenue growth in 12 months," "Reduced client churn by 5% over the last year," or "Completed X projects within Y time frame." These examples all tell the reader something specific about how you've performed in previous roles—and they all have evidence attached to them so they can be verified later on down the line when an employer checks references or asks for proof of skillsets.

We know that writing a resume can be overwhelming and daunting. There are countless articles out there with conflicting advice on what to include, how much detail to give, what the font should be—the list goes on! But we hope this article has helped make it a little less stressful by giving you an idea of what not to include on your resume. Even though these words are overused and might be considered cliche, they can still put a positive spin on your experience if used sparingly and appropriately. Just remember: don’t overdo it with adjectives!

Looking to apply these helpful resume tips to apply to your dream job? Check out the latest legit remote jobs here.


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