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9 Overused Words to Avoid on Your Resume

I recently read that the average hiring manager only spends about six seconds on a resume, so if you're like me, you want every section of your resume to be as effective as possible. These terms are often overused and seem shallow, so it's important to avoid them in favor of something more specific or nuanced.

Let's take a look at 9 words you should avoid on your resume:


Enthusiastic


There are a number of words that are overused on resumes, and enthusiastic is one of them. It's a little too vague: you can't really tell if the person who used this word meant "I'm passionate about my work," or if he or she just means "I'm not an automaton." And if you're applying for a job at an accounting firm and use the word "enthusiastic" to describe your attitude toward numbers? That will send up red flags.

Enthusiasm is important, but it doesn't mean much in itself when we're talking about resumes because we need to know what kind of enthusiasm we're talking about—are they enthusiastic about their work? Their hobbies? Their careers? Each of these things requires different kinds of enthusiasm, so be specific!


Detail Oriented


"Detail oriented" is a good trait to have, but it's also one that everyone should have. If you're detail oriented, you tend to notice small details and pay attention to them. That's great! It will make you a better employee and help you with your work. But this description can leave the hiring manager wondering what else you do well—and how they can quantify it.

  • Instead of using "detail oriented" on your resume, try something more specific like:

  • I took initiative by creating (a product/service)

  • I was able to analyze data from multiple sources and draw conclusions based on this analysis


Team Player


"Team player" is a vague term that can be interpreted in different ways. Some might view it as a pro, while others may see it as a red flag. You don't want to come across as too passive or too aggressive, so avoid using this phrase on your resume.

It's also important to remember how this phrase could be interpreted by hiring managers when writing your resume content and cover letter. For example: if you're applying for an entry-level position and say that you're a "team player," the hiring manager might think that means you aren't confident enough in your own abilities—and thus won't feel comfortable giving you more responsibility down the road!


Self Starter


"Self-starter" is a term that's used frequently in the workplace and on resumes alike, but it doesn't say much about your personality or your work ethic. Instead of using this term, try to include concrete examples of how you've been an effective self-starter in previous positions—and what you've done to prove it.


Dynamic


The word dynamic is one of the most overused buzzwords on resumes today. It can be a great way to describe a person or their skills, but it's also incredibly broad. You can use dynamic to describe someone who is energetic and active, or you could say that your favorite place in the world is "dynamic" because there's always something new happening there.


The problem with using this word comes when multiple people apply for the same job and they all have this word in their resume—so they're using it in different ways, which looks bad and makes it hard for an employer to know exactly what they mean by "dynamic."


Hard Worker


You may be a hard worker, but chances are you're not the only one. In fact, most people can claim to be hard workers. So why is this a buzzword? Because it's not very useful in describing your abilities and potential value to an employer. You need to find ways of illustrating how your skills, education and experience fit within the job description so that hiring managers understand why YOU are the best candidate for the position.

If all you have going for yourself is that you work hard—no matter what field or industry—it's likely that someone else out there will work even harder than you do (or at least appear as though they're working harder). Employers know this too; they want to hire people who stand out from their peers because of their ability to produce results while also demonstrating leadership qualities and other traits that make them valuable additions to any team environment.


Fast Learner


You don’t need to show that you are a fast learner. You can instead demonstrate that you learned a lot in a short time, by taking advantage of opportunities to learn.

For example, if you tell me that you are a fast learner, I will assume that means that you have the ability to pick up new skills quickly on your own. But what if I see on your resume during your first year as an intern at my company that in addition to learning how our product works and doing other technical tasks, you also helped design an internal tool for documenting customer issues? That shows me that not only do you have the ability to pick up new skills quickly but also shows me something about how creatively and resourcefully you approach problems and challenges—and it makes me want more from someone who can do those things!


Organized


Organized is a trait, not a skill. It's important to be organized and it shows that you can prioritize tasks, but it doesn't show the ability to do them. A resume is not where you should be stating your traits or qualities: what are some other ways that people can demonstrate their skills?


Responsible


Responsible is a word that's often used on resumes, but it doesn't say anything about your skills or how you will be an asset to a company. For example, if you are responsible for maintaining files and data entry, that doesn't tell us anything about your abilities in these areas. Instead of using “responsible” as a descriptor, try using words like organized or efficient instead.


Words like these don't help you stand out and may even hurt your chances of getting an interview. There are a lot of words that you should avoid using on your resume. These words can be useful when they’re used in the right context and when they convey a specific meaning, but as general descriptions or filler text, they don’t help you stand out and may even hurt your chances of getting an interview.


Take the time to think about what kind of language resonates most with you. When you’re writing your resume, try to use words or phrases that make you feel excited and confident. Avoid jargon by sticking to familiar words that are easy to understand. And most importantly: remember that hiring managers will be looking at hundreds of resumes each day, so don't go overboard with buzzwords in your resume.


It's time to delete these overused words from your resume and start applying to your dream job! Take a look at legit remote jobs here.

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