Ohio University Office of Career Services


Résumé Words Not to Use by Christy R

Résumé Words Not to Use

When browsing a résumé, recruiters often look for specific words that are relevant to the job description. When writing a resume, you should aim to make it stand out. A couple of simple rules will help you to avoid words that are overused and do not add uniqueness to your résumé, as well as words that are not appropriate to put on your résumé.

Never use words that are too general and are irrelevant to a position description.

Remember to be very concrete and provide specific examples about every skill you list on your résumé. Avoid words like responsible or successful. We all have responsibilities that are associated with our jobs, so avoid listing your job duties unless very relevant to the job for which you are applying. Instead, be very specific about your accomplishments. It should be common sense to include only successes on your résumé but just listing them does not provide employers with useful information. Illustrate your success with specific examples and show how the success was measured.

For the same reason, avoid putting problems-solver or skilled on your résumé. These words are too general and need more concrete examples to add value to your résumé.

Avoid using words like assisted, helped or contributed.  When tempted to put assisted down, ask yourself: How exactly did you help/assists? What were the results and how big of a contribution did you manage to add? What amount of work (list specific tasks) did you do?

Avoid using word team-player, describe how you contributed to or lead a team. Never put just excellent written and verbal communication skills—provide an example of how often you had to write and how many viewers you had.

Never use words that are not appropriate for the résumé.

Remember to screen every word that you put on the résumé to make sure they are professional enough to be there. Avoid using over-praising adjectives like splendid or spectacular—they not only do not sound professional but also have no credibility.

Avoid saying how you feel about your job or your job function—words that carry feelings are not relevant to your job function whether you hated it or it was a pleasure. Never include a description of your physical appearance such as attractive unless it is relevant to the job.

You résumé is not the proper place for talking about your political beliefs or your religion—thus avoid words like liberal. It is also not appropriate to mention your health and there is no need to put strong immune system on your résumé.

It is tempting to use familiar with when you are not particularly good at something however still want to mention it on the résumé. You have a choice of learning it well enough to become proficient or leaving it off your résumé. Familiarity means that you know a little but will still need to be trained—just like a person who is not familiar with that same thing.

Avoid highly-intelligent (and rarely used) words. You may just confuse your reader or give the wrong impression. By the same token, avoid jargon or acronyms that are not generally accepted or widely understood. Don’t use clichés and words that are overused and won’t set your résumé apart from the others. Use synonyms to make your résumé stand out.  Never use personal pronouns in your résumé—it is a summary of your experience and “I” or “me” are considered redundant.

By using strong words and avoiding inappropriate words, and by spending good amount of time writing your resume you will be able to add character to it and make it stand out from hundreds of others!

To have a career counselor look over your résumé, come to the Office of Career Services walk-in hours.

—Written by Anna Morlang, CareerCATS Coordinator for the Office of Career Services

References
New Grad Life
SavvySugar: Money
Hub Pages
Online Degrees Today

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