Overused phrases that drive employers crazy!

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Some phrases are used so often on resumes they’ve become totally generic and scream, “I can’t think for myself!” To avoid this trap before you use a phrase, think about what you’re really trying to say and how an employer will interpret it.

Here are a few examples of common resume phrases and what they REALLY mean.

 

Phrase: “Able to work both alone and with others”

What it really says: “I’m a human being, whoopdeedoo!”

What you can say instead: “Successfully coordinated ad hoc committee of up to ten staff members in the implementation of new design process”

 Phrase(s): “Helped with…” “Responsible for…” or “Duties included…”

What it really says: “Yawn!”

What you can say instead: “Orchestrated” “Implemented” “Designed”

Phrase: “Hard-working”

What it really says: “Well you had better…that’s what I pay you for!”

What you can say instead: “Completed software design project ahead of projected timeline through the use of exceptional time-management skills”

Phrase: “Multi-tasking”

What it really says: “Wow, I can both walk and talk at the same time…I must be a multi-tasking!” (yes this is sarcastic)

What you can say instead: “Designed and completed three simultaneous interior renovation projects, while remaining on time and under budget”

Phrase: “Knowledgeable in the use of Microsoft Office and various other types of software “

What is really says: “Knowledgeable can simply mean awareness, it doesn’t imply actual use plus it’s totally vague I need specifics!”

What you can say instead: “Proficient in the use of Microsoft Office Suite: including a strong working knowledge of Excel and Word, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator CS5, as well as 3D modeling experience using AutoCAD”

 

Remember, don’t just say a phrase; by quantifying it you’ll automatically add strength to what you’re saying. Below are a few great articles on overused phrases and how a few simple changes will improve your resume.

10 most over used words and phrases in Canadian resumes

45 Quick changes that help your resume get noticed

7 Phrases to remove from your resume