I remember some time ago reading an article intended to help those seeking jobs by alerting them to certain words or phrases they should not use on their resumes. The concern was applicants may be using generic language; language that doesn’t specifically demonstrate capabilities. Over-used, trite, unsupportable phrases make Human Resource Managers cringe. Six examples were provided:
1. “Responsible for” — So what? We’re all responsible for something. Simply state what you did and how the way you accomplished it brought value to your company.
2. “Experienced” — One would hope there was a smattering of experience being exhibited for the job listing.
3. “Excellent written communication skills” — This one grates on my nerves, too. A smarter approach is to ‘write’ a nifty resume.
4. “Team player” – what were your team colors? (snort)
5. “Detail oriented” – Glad to know you don’t simply skim over instructions from the boss. Stupid phrase; I agree. I’m actually Southern oriented. Go figure.
6. “Successful” – Yippee Skippy for you; be detail oriented and show your successes. (snort again)
Those were the top 6 sucky words or phrases but as I sat here pretending to be a Human Resource Manager on a cold, snowy, sucky day with nothing better to do… I came up with a few more that could conceivably sneak into a resume. So, here are a few words and phrases I’m going to caution you not to use in your resume.
1. “Colostomy Bag” — While you may need extra personal breaks during your work day, please don’t put that in print. Instead, bring it up during the interview while discussing benefits, assuming you get that far since you’ll be dashing in and out.
2. “Likes Small Animals” – Unless you are applying for a position with the Humane Society, what you do on your off time is your business. Especially if it involves guinea pigs.
3. “Objective: Interested in a Job With Dental Benefits So I Can Get My Teeth Fixed” — This could go several ways depending on whether or not the job actually requires teeth.
4. “I No Longer Do What the Little Voices Tell Me” - Human Resources little voice says, run Forrest, run.
5. “My Politics Lean Toward Either Spock or Kirk in 2012” - Human Resources leans toward transporting your resume to the Klingon home world.
6. “I Am Willing to Eat Lunch at My Desk With My Little Soldiers” - Human Resources is willing to use your resume as an origami project.
And remember always to add three character references (aside from your Parole Officer)…sigh…