11 Overused Words You Should Remove From Your Resume

Most experts believe that employers only spend six to seven seconds scanning a job applicant’s resume. They already know what to look for in a candidate. If your resume contains too many irrelevant details, it’ll get junked.

Of course, companies follow different hiring procedures, but in all likelihood, you’ll have fewer chances to leave an impression. You can’t waste time beating around the bush. So before sending your resume, see if you used any of the generic, overused words listed in this article.

1. Resume

Don’t place the word “resume” at the top of your resume. Apart from being redundant, it makes your job application look like that of an amateur. Only first-time job seekers follow generic templates. Employers already know that they’re reading your resume—you don’t have to spell it out for them.

Use your name as the main header instead. That way, the recruiter in charge of your application could easily find, store, and sort your application papers.

2. Passionate, Career-Oriented, or Goal-Driven

Job hunters tend to overuse buzzwords such as passionate, career-oriented, and goal-driven, among others. Unfortunately, they don’t add value to resumes. Employers already expect a positive, enthusiastic mindset from anyone who wants to work at their company.

A better way to express your personality is to explain your interests. Recruiters can use your hobbies, passion projects, and drivers of motivation to gauge how well you’d relate to their company culture.

3. References Upon Request

Try preparing at least three references before applying for a job. Reach out to qualified professionals who can vouch for you, like old managers, coworkers, direct supervisors, or even college professors.

Should your references decline, skip the section altogether. Never use the phrase “references available upon request” as a filler. Hiring managers expect you to list your references right from the get-go if you already have some ready.

At least get recommendation letters from old supervisors or professors if you don’t have references yet.

4. Responsible for or Worked On

Coworkers Working Together and Discussing Projects

Don’t just say you were “responsible for” a project. It’s a weak, vague action verb that gives minimal insights into your actual duties and responsibilities. Hiring managers don’t find this phrase impressive. If you played a crucial role in executing a project, don’t shy from explicitly describing your accomplishments and duties.

Let’s say you did influencer outreach for a successful campaign. Instead of plainly stating you were responsible for the project’s influencer marketing, make sure to emphasize that you helped the brand build stable, long-term relationships with relevant online personalities.

5. Objective Statements

Generic objective statements won’t improve your standing. Employers already know that you want to work at their company. Your intentions and objectives are quite obvious; creating an entire section about them is just redundant.

Instead of wasting your time creating several points for your Objective Statements, learn to write a resume summary. A brief yet compelling paragraph will set your application apart from the rest. Remember that most recruiters don’t have time to read resumes in detail, so always emphasize your strong points.

6. Excellent, Great, or Best

Office Employees Busy Coding

Although superlatives express the highest degree of an adjective or adverb, they’ve lost their value in resume writing since job hunters overuse them. Hiring managers see buzzwords like best, excellent, and great regularly. If you hit them with another generic superlative, your resume will likely get junked.

A more effective way to express your competence is to provide concrete evidence. Explain why you claim you’re “great” at your job. For instance, you could zero in on the most in-demand soft and hard skills or present data showing your career progression.

7. Assisted or Helped

The buzzwords “assisted” and “helped” are even weaker than “responsible for.” Not only do they describe your job vaguely, but they imply that you take zero initiative and blindly follow orders. Employers want professionals who think for themselves. Otherwise, they would have invested their funds in software programs and AI technologies.

Explicitly describe your role. If your contributions didn’t make a big enough impact, consider leaving them out of your resume altogether. Save space for your actual accomplishments. Focus on your tasks and explain their relevance to the job you want.

8. Responsibilities and Duties

Person Wearing a Watch and Typing on Laptop

Employers already know the responsibilities and duties of the position you’re applying for; you don’t have to list them again on your resume. You’ll only waste your time.

A more efficient approach would be to describe your previous roles. Hiring managers can use this information to gauge how quickly you’d meet their company’s expectations.

9. Successful

“Successful” is an ambiguous, subjective term. Anyone can say that about a past initiative or project, so hiring managers don’t find it impressive anymore. Moreover, you shouldn’t even mention unsuccessful campaigns in the first place.

Instead of simply saying that a project was successful, back your claims up with facts and data. Quantify the meaning of “success.” Prove that your efforts helped your previous employers increase sales, attract more prospects, or boost company morale, among other accomplishments.

10. Extensive Experience

The Office Posing With Their Boss

The phrase “extensive experience” is just marketing fluff. You’ll see it on business websites and ads, but you shouldn’t use it on your resume. Vague superlatives never look professional.

If you have confidence in your tenure, quantify your business and industry experience. Most hiring managers would appreciate knowing when you got your degree or how long you’ve been working.

11. Proficient With

New job hunters often use “proficient with” to describe their ability to use basic software programs like Google Workspace and Microsoft Office. However, proficiency in these areas is expected. Employers might find it more surprising if you were to apply for an office job despite not having basic computer skills.

With that said, you can still use “proficient with” sparingly. Just make sure to pair it with a complex, job-relevant skill that’s challenging to learn and in demand.

Impress Employers With a Clean, Concise Resume

We understand that you want to impress employers. However, keep in mind that overloading your resume with cliché terms and redundant information will likely do more harm than good. Keep your application concise and organized. Present facts and data that demonstrate your potential as a job applicant instead of throwing around flowery words.

Moreover, we suggest reviewing your resume several times before sending it. Apart from removing the words and phrases we listed above, consider editing other irrelevant details that employers might not need during the hiring process (i.e., physical attributes, political affiliations, home address).

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