Career coach: the words you should NEVER use in your resume

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Career coach: the words you should NEVER use in your resume if you want to play your dream role – from ‘motivated’ to ‘team player’

  • An Australian career coach has revealed the words to avoid being used on a resume
  • Simon Bennett told Seek not to use a ‘motivated’, ‘loyal’ or ‘people person’
  • “These words are overused and rarely supported with examples,” he said
  • Bennett said candidates should demonstrate how to embody capabilities

An Australian career coach and recruitment consultant has revealed the words and phrases to avoid on a resume for a greater chance of success.

Simon Bennett, from Glide Outplacement and Career Coaching, shared Search It is essential to avoid the inclusion of commonly used ‘buzzwords’ – including ‘punctual’, ‘motivated’, ‘loyal’, ‘energetic’, ‘team player’, ‘enthusiastic’, ‘customer focused’ and ‘a people person’.

“These words are often overused and rarely backed up with concrete examples,” Bennett said.

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Simon Bennett, from Glide Outplacement and Career Coaching, told Seek it’s essential to avoid the inclusion of common ‘buzzwords’

Carefully selecting the right wording for a resume is crucial because it allows the employer to be sure that you are the perfect person for the job and the company.

Bennett explained that job seekers often use these popular words to “sound competent,” but employers want to see how the candidate embodies these characteristics.

‘Almost every employer will be looking for that [common] traits, but anyone can say they have them, ”he said, so it’s important to give examples in addition to the trait itself.

The words you need to change on your resume

Replace these words:

  • Loyal
  • Energetic
  • Punctual
  • Motivated
  • Hardworking
  • Team player

With powerful action verbs such as:

  • Developed (e.g. ‘I developed a new training manual’)
  • Achieved (e.g., ‘I met all my sales goals’)
  • Managed (e.g. ‘I led a team of three’)
  • Initiated (e.g. ‘I have started a health and safety program’)

Source: Search

Instead of using the words themselves, replace them with a powerful action verb – such as avoid ‘motivated’ and use ‘developed’ or ‘achieved’ instead, then follow suit.

“Action verbs like this draw attention and excite the reader,” Bennett said.

“These words help to emphasize your skills and abilities and demonstrate the success you have achieved in previous jobs.”

Julian Williamson, director and founder of The Jobseeker Agency, supported this, saying on Twitter, “Without supporting evidence to show that you have those characteristics, buzzwords are just words that many other people use and therefore have little value.”

You can demonstrate your capabilities by explaining how long you have stayed with an organization, how you are “customer-focused”, what you achieved in your previous role, or how you exceeded the expectations of your boss or customer.

What you should do

Put your phone number, email address and LinkedIn / website on the letter

State the name of your future boss

Include the language used in the job posting

Discuss the main criteria and job requirements mentioned in the ad

Link to online information

What not to do

Do not send a generic cover letter for every vacancy

Do not include your address on the cover letter

Don’t say ‘to whom it concerns’

Do not include negative information, including the number of applications or medical issues

Do not provide your date of birth

Bennett explained that job seekers often use these words to 'sound competent', but employers want to see how the candidate embodies these characteristics

Bennett explained that job seekers often use these words to 'sound competent', but employers want to see how the candidate embodies these characteristics

Bennett explained that job seekers often use these words to ‘sound competent’, but employers want to see how the candidate embodies these characteristics

Williamson also said that a company is more likely to look for a specific desired skill than for “enthusiastic” or “hard-working” qualities.

“It is much better to use facts and figures where possible, provide evidence of where you used skills or achieved achievements, so that the reader gets a comprehensive overview of your past roles and responsibilities,” Williamson told Seek.

“This will add much more value than throwing overused buzzwords into your resume.”

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