The Most Overused Resume Words

March 7, 2015 | Charlene

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LinkedIn has announced their annual list of "the most overused words, underwhelming buzzwords and phrases in LinkedIn profiles of 2014 across the world." According to them, the one that tops the list is 'motivated.' This list clearly identified what their users felt were the most appropriate words to describe themselves as well as, their work history. In addition, these meaningless buzzwords don't add much substance to your LinkedIn profile, or for that matter make you stand out from the rest of the crowd.  Your goal is to set yourself apart from the rest of the pack. Therefore, your words and phrases should be a marketing tool to be used to your advantage. LinkedIn calls this your "professional branding." 

LinkedIn Top 10 Buzzwords Used Globally:

1.    Motivated                            6.    Responsible

2.    Passionate                           7.    Strategic

3.    Creative                              8.    Track record

4.    Driven                                 9.    Organizational

5.    Extensive experience           10.   Expert 

Instead of including these words or phrases in your resume, LinkedIn suggests to avoid using them and instead provide concrete examples that demonstrate how you are motivated, for example.  How did your motivation ultimately drive business results? Has your motivation helped champion a program?" That being said, Elizabeth Bromstein suggests not eliminating all of those words from your resume or profile. Certain words or phrases like "problem solving, analytics, and communication skills are among the most sought after skills by Canadian employers." Rather, make it clear how you have used these skills in your various job duties.

Workopolis analysed the content of resumes in their database and found that the most repeated words and phrases on resumes illustrates how Canadians are marketing themselves. They suggest removing them for more 'creative alternatives.' 

The 10 most over-used words/phrases in resumes:   

1.    Resume / C.V. / Curriculum Vitae                         

2.    Duties included 

3.    Responsible for 

4.    Helped 

5.    Handled

6.    Worked

7.    Creative 

8.    Excellent

9.    Motivated 

10.  References available upon request

Using words like "resume/cv/curriculum vitae" is redundant. An employer knows that they are looking at a resume. And being "responsible for" isn't an accomplishment. Charles Purdy, Monster Senior Editor suggests turning phrases "like 'responsible for' into 'managed', 'led' or other decisive, strong verbs."

Employers look for specific accomplishments and certain keywords when searching through resumes as a way to limit their list to the most qualified candidates. People often think that including corporate sounding buzzwords will get them noticed by hiring managers. However, employers want to see how your career has progressed based on what kinds of actions you took to achieve the desired outcomes, how you have exceeded your goals and include specific examples of your accomplishments. “Providing specific examples may allow a potential employer to relate the applicant’s work experience to potential business needs within their company. These examples will also demonstrate a business and results orientation.”

Your objective is to get yourself noticed by prospective employers. Using strong action words and specific examples to describe your skills, accomplisments and experience will increase your chances of getting your resume looked at by hiring professionals. 

For further reading on this topic, try checking out some of these titles from Toronto Public Library.

The resume and cover letter phrase book  1,001 phrases you need to get a job Readymade CVs Power verbs the complete collection

Strategic connections : the new face of networking in a collaborative world NLP : the essential handbook for business : communication techniques to build relationships, influence others, and achieve your goals How to Write a Resume : Learn How to Craft Professional Resume to Find Your Dream Job Easily (cover Letters, Resume Templates, Sample Resumes). How to write better resumes and cover letters