Phrases That are Poison to Your Resume and Job Objective
The It is a whole new world in resume writing. Gone are the days where you could grab a template, plug in your employment information and write a quick summary. Granted you can still use a good template but the summary is now critical and can either get you that all important interview or have your resume lining the trashcan in the hiring managers office.
With many qualified applicants vying for the same job having a resume that stands out is paramount. One of the first steps in achieving a stand out resume is to remove the old cliché phrases that EVERYONE puts in their resume. One hiring manager of a Fortune 500 company recently explained what criteria they use as a first run through of any resume they receive. If a resume contains any boiler plate, cliché, or “business speak” phrases it is discarded. This was done regardless of the qualifications of the applicant. Surprised? I was! The reasoning behind this was that with so many applicants for any one job the hiring managers, and affect the company, could afford to screen out the ho hum applicants and look for those job seekers that took the time to write a creative resume that portrayed their skills and qualifications using what is referred to as a “human voice”.
To understand what human voice is let me give you an example of what it is not. This is an example of what the standard job summary or objective has been in the past:
I am a goal oriented team player. My strong work ethic has helped me meet or exceed the expectations of my past employers. I have 8 years of experience and over this time I have developed a proven track record of success. My excellent communication skills have allowed me to work closely with different teams as well as all levels of staff.
After reading the above example ask yourself the following questions; what does this tell me about the candidate? Does this give any information to a hiring manager that would help him/her choose this person over another equally qualified applicant? Does this summary point out what job the applicant has had for the past X years? And most importantly; is this applicant memorable?
Now let’s take a look at a creative job summary.
I am a retail sales manager who has increased sales in my store by 15% every quarter for the past two years. I have done this by constantly keeping in touch with my customers and finding out what is important to them, why they buy what they do and how we compare to our competitors. I am diligent about creating spreadsheets that help me to track the spending habits of my customers allowing me to better understand the marketplace. By tracking what is in demand, and where buying trends are going I have remained a step ahead of my competitors allowing my store to outpace them in sales. Additionally I have spearheaded training each new employee. Guaranteeing they will, not only sell effectively, but will develop customer loyalty, resulting in higher commissions and promotions. This has resulted in the lowest employee turnover in any of the stores in my region.
After reading this example ask yourself the same questions; what does this tell me about the candidate? Does this give any information to a hiring manager that would help him/her choose this person over another equally qualified applicant? Does this summary point out what job the applicant has had for the past X years? And most importantly; is this applicant memorable? This summary not only allows us to answer the above questions but also gives us a sense of who this person is and what kind of employee they have been.
You only get one shot with each hiring manager to make your resume memorable. Why not try writing it in human voice and leave the clichés and boiler plate phrases for the guy/girl who doesn’t get the job?
Below are a list of phrases and clichés to omit or remove or replace from your resume:
Resolved customer difficulties quickly and tactfully
Exceeded all productivity goals for the department
Years of progressively responsible experience
Managed cross-functional teams
Superior (or excellent) communication skills
Strong work ethic
Spoke with existing customers on a daily basis
Met or exceeded expectations
Served as a company spokesperson
Proven track record of success
Expert or excellent presenter
Expert or excellent negotiator
Expert or excellent business person
Introduces new products
Results or objectives oriented
“Go to” person
Works well with all levels of staff
Possess leadership, motivational and inspirational skills