Words to Never Include On Your Resume

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so make sure yours is saying the right message! Considering how much work you’ve put into your resume, make sure that yours isn’t the wrong impression! You have a very limited time to catch the eye of a recruiter or hiring manager, so use it wisely! We checked in with our own team and a few other HR experts for the most over-used, obvious, or unnecessary buzzwords people are still including on their resumes:

Don’t Use These Words In Your Resume:

  • “Can’t” or “Won’t”- negative phrases of any kind will get your resume flagged
  • Any complaints about your past workplaces
  • “Lit” or slang of any kind.
  • “Unemployed”  Save any explanation about a gap in positions for the job interview.
  • “Salary Negotiable” Perhaps on your end, but the company has the last word. Don’t include this on your resume, but you can address it in the job interview.
  • “Seasoned” Unless you’re applying for food-related position, you shouldn’t use this phrase.
  • “Dabbled” Using this shows that you’re not an expert and therefore shouldn’t include this on your resume.

Tired Clichés That Show You’re Not Trying

  • “Team player”
  • “On Time”/”Punctual”
  • “Detail-oriented”
  • “Hardworking”/”Hard-Worker”, “Ambitious”, “Strategic Thinker” – Either provide examples of your work ethic or don’t bring it up. Don’t brag, just give results.
  • “Results-oriented”
  • “Responsible for”
  • “Accomplished”
  • “Successfully”
  • “Problem-solving skills”
  • “Proactive”
  • “Honest”
  • “Hustle”

Used to be Required, But Now Assumed

  • “References Available Upon Request”
  • “Phone number” and “Email address”. Put the information, but don’t put the label since the format is self-explanatory.

Case By Case Basis, Depending on Where You’re Applying

If you’re applying to a large corporation that thrives on buzzwords, by all means add every single one you deem appropriate. If you’re applying to a place without that kind of culture, than doing so not only will backfire, but also could get your resume flagged as unprofessional so you wouldn’t be considered for any future openings.

  • “Synergy”, “Wheelhouse”,
  • “Think outside of the box”
  • “Go-getter”
  • “Best of breed”
  • “Rockstar”, “Guru”,”Go-to person”, “Ninja” or other unnecessarily fancy job titles


Words That You Should Use:

You need to describe your background in terms of achievements. Therefore use:

  • Any promotions
  • Achievements in terms of numbers ex:”I managed 5 people and trained 2 managers each quarter for 3 years” gives a solid answer instead of “I managed people and trained managers each quarter for a few years.” Numbers and hard data inspire trust.
  • Created
  • Developed
  • Increased/Decreased
  • Launched
  • Managed
  • Negotiated
  • Trained/Mentored
  • Volunteered
  • Independently
  • Led

In Conclusion

This list will keep your resume professional and in the IN pile – and out of the trash! Remember to stick to the facts and try not to repeat yourself.

Instead of wishing you luck, remember this Thomas Jefferson quote: “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” Once you’ve removed any problem words or phrases, be sure to Get Your Resume Past The ATS!    Also be sure to remove any fluff from your resume. You will succeed!


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