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”
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”
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.