The Resume ‘Buzzwords’ Recruiters Can’t Stand
With applicant tracking systems becoming the norm for hiring managers to cut down on job seekers, including all the common resume buzzwords isn’t the best way to stand out from the crowd. The best words to use in a resume aren’t the buzzwords that everyone uses in their cover letter and LinkedIn profile; they are red flags to recruiters that say you’re no different to the next applicant.
Recruiters only spend 2 minutes on each resume
Table of Contents
Top Resume Words Recruiters Can’t Stand
In 2016, LinkedIn claimed that ‘leadership’ was the most common buzzword used globally and has probably snuck in within your bullet points somewhere. Instead of outright saying you have demonstrated leadership skills, consider making note of situations where you have done so and describe the outcome as a result of this direction.
Instead of stating you’re a results driven person, separate yourself from others in the hiring process by writing what you did to actually achieve the results. Not only does this show your potential employer you have the capabilities to reach the expected results but also showcases previous work history.
Unnecessary words and phrases such as ‘responsible for’ and ‘duties included’ add unneeded fluff to job boards. Many career coaches suggest being direct and simply stating the task or accomplishment that was part of the job description and be honest in doing so.
A common and unnecessary buzzword job applicants include, describing yourself as a team player can be considered pointless as there are extremely few jobs where you won’t have to collaborate with others as part of a team. Describe instead how in a recent role you were involved in a collaborative work experience that was able to accomplish something that wouldn’t have been possible alone.
As a human being, you and all other job applicants would be expected to be hard working whether in a current or new job. Considering you to be a harder worker than others may be true but is difficult for a hiring manager to believe without some form of proof. Offer actual proof throughout your work history that describes a specific and unique situation when you’ve gone the extra mile that others wouldn’t have.
Any job applicant can describe themselves as a ‘go-getter’ or a ‘strategic thinker’; in 2014 CareerBuilder found that ‘best of breed’ was the term that HR professionals found the most annoying to read on a resume. If you can back up the claim through specific examples or having a great character reference, you just may get on the short list.
'Think Outside the Box'
Another phrase that many hiring managers dread to see on a cover letter or resume, thinking outside the box simply means you’re stating you’re a creative or innovative, two other buzzwords recruiters don’t like seeing as they are subjective and your own opinion. You may be asked to describe a time you’ve had to think outside the box during the hiring process but is unnecessary to include within your cover letter or resume.
This buzzword is a tricky one to include as it can indicate to potential employers that even if you accept this job opportunity you may still check job postings for new and better new job opportunities. Whilst you’ve stated you’re not an underachiever it may cause worry for the company, as they may soon have to start the hiring process over again if you’re not satisfied with the job.
Being detail orientated is a fantastic quality to possess but can be difficult to assess on a resume and cover letter and may also be subjective. This buzzword is one that HR professionals don’t like to see, but if you have experiences where being detailed has made an impact within your previous work place then be sure to include it with another skill.
'Exceptional Communication Skills'
Having multiple social media accounts does not qualify you as an exceptional communicator, this buzzword is something that hiring managers already expect you to possess or have at least some work experience in. If your industry relies heavily on communication then consider describing how and with whom you previously communicated with on a regular basis.
Useful Resume Words to Include
Be careful that your resume and CV do not state obvious and given qualities or skills that hiring managers expect you to have or already be proficient in. Other buzzwords that are obvious and given skills can include ‘punctual’, ‘highly qualified’, ‘motivated’, ‘proficient in Microsoft Word’ (and other programs), ‘people person’ and many more.
Instead a few good resume buzzwords to include are:
Even if you truly are the descriptive buzzwords you include in your CV and resume, no hiring manager is going to fully believe it unless your 2-4 page resume expresses these honest words differently to other job seekers.
Try including diagrams and graphics to demonstrate your results driven mind set, include a short report to highlight how detailed orientated you are or even include call out boxes to truly gain a hiring managers attention. Avoid using job postings as a way to detect which keywords to include in your cover letter as majority of the time, the information should be a given for all job applicants. Many HR professionals make a hiring decision based on the uniqueness of information you can describe in your CV and resume.
The common tips and tricks in a resume template still apply such as checking for spelling errors and writing contact information professionally; but always ensure your resume writing during the job search depicts you as the candidate to stand out. This is simply done by removing the common buzzwords that recruiters can’t stand and instead describing the time when you demonstrated the specific skill.
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