6 Words That Make Your Resume Suck

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46 thoughts on “6 Words That Make Your Resume Suck

  1. Arjewtino

    I screen resumes for my employer. I have seen so many mind-boggling editing and formatting mistakes it would make you cry.

    The most frequent mistake I see by far is using “lead” as the past tense of “lead”.

    It’s “led”, people.

  2. Jonathan

    Hey, this is actually pretty helpful! I haven’t ever written a professional resume myself, but these are all the sort of cliche things you expect to see on a resume. Thanks for the tips on improving.

  3. Kaiesha

    Thanks this information is great i thought i had it all figured out but looking at the 6 words i guess i didn’t i had most of these.

  4. Carol

    Transformation Initiatve – DRIVING CHANGE! We all change everyday, we’re one day closer to death in this mind numbing world of computers! ‘I owe, I owe, it’s off to work I go — please rear end me so I’m late’ – [my latest bumper sticker] Does the EMPLOYER’S/COMPANY NAME count?!

  5. Dana Harris

    Good tips. However, my background and the types of jobs that I do (and have had) DO NOT lend themselves to any quantifiable achievements….in other words, I never increased sales by a Gazillion dollars, never increased widget output by 250%, and so forth……a lot of my experience is in public sector work centered around construction and civil engineering with some time spent in the private sector doing HVAC related engineering and as well, civil engineering…I want a better job, yet cannot really talk up my latest position as a Local Building Inspector (there is a DEPRESSION going on and I needed a JOB)……what do I say on a resume?….process 50 permits per day?….(impossible by the way)….looked at 6 wood stud walls per inspection?…c’mon……what DO I DO to write a killer resume?

  6. Tom Clark

    Great article. I found you because I Googled “Words that Suck” — in search of another writer who despises certain words people use in their writing to sound important, like “utilize” and “additionally” — two words which you can add to your list.

  7. David

    Well that was fantastic! You’ve hit on so many useful points! In essence, stay away from the generic…resume gatekeepers want clarity – not obfuscation, they want facts – not generalities, they want impactive quantitative contributions – not cliched abstracts! Great information, that’ll surely help a lot of people!

  8. Karla Porter

    Nice job and great to see this was helpful to readers. I similarly coach candidates and much prefer resumes that do not contain those meaningless words.

  9. Kat

    Oh My God. I am not even a hiring manager, but I have been weeding through resumes all week, and they suck. The recession seems to just mean more bad resumes, so make yours good, and you will still stand out. Some more tips – Don’t spend 2 pages telling me the same thing over and over. For example – I know you can program, you said you had done some very difficult, programming things. You have convinced me. But I have a list of things I want, and collaborating in teams, helping less-experienced employees, testing, and coming up with ideas of your own are also on that list. One technical point after another makes me think you don’t play nice with others.
    Then again, one project managed after another sounds important, but I don’t know that you know what anyone is talking about. Don’t give me your whole biography – I don’t care where you were born. And please, pretty please, don’t use any acronyms, even if you define them. Even if it’s industry standard. Jargon is painful to read!

  10. Charlie Hubbard

    All good points, but much of the advice was to say something like “blah blah blah increased by 20 percent.” or “blah blah blah decreased by 20%”. The only problem is that much of that data no one has access to. Working at the company doesn’t guarantee they’ll share the hard facts of sales data with you, or that they even know it themselves. Plus, it’s not like the hiring manager can fact check any of those things you’re claiming. But, if you’re just looking to stand out…”Now with 200% efficiency!”

  11. Maxim

    Dear friend, you forgot one very important fact! In 99% cases your resume pass first screening by a recruiter, who is not going to read all the details and come to conclusions, so the phrases which you refer as “BAD” are exactly what most of the recruiters looking to find in your resume. Points which you brought are valid, but only in the job details part of a resume.

  12. Deborah

    It’s hard enough writing a resume without people like you and your little nitpicking pet peeves.

    All those “buzzwords” that leave you so anal retentively “puckered” are ones that, a mere few years ago, people were encouraged to put on their resumes. That you would pass over a perfectly qualified candidate because they used a phrase on their resume you didn’t like or felt was outdated says more about the unreasonable nature of hiring managers than it does about the quality of resumes you’re receiving.

    You and people like you are what’s wrong with business today. Take your “sour pucker” and go suck an egg. Better yet, pucker up and kiss my @**

  13. Dianne Rabkin

    2/2010 Hello job hunters. That was boring wasn’t it. But, those 2 words describe a lot of us out there. My recent experience was that my resume was pretty bad, but, I got the interview because I read about the job and put that experience in the cover letter. That letter was only 3 lines!

    Be sure that what you put in your cover letter you can actually do. I did not get the job because the interviewer’s wife asked me to do a complex spreadsheet in 10 minutes that really needed a couple of hours to do. I could have done the spreadsheet with a little more time alloted, but, that wasn’t what the company really needed.

    So, for my next “try” I will use the cover letter and look over my resume and replace with actual work performed such as provided computer training for new employees or planning work schedules and maintaining confidential records.

    Well, best wishes everyone. Don’t give up.


  14. Adam

    I disagree with pretty much every single thing wrote here. These are things that are considered almost mandatory by almost every single employer I know and even things I require when I look at resumes. I don't care about explicit facts, they take up too much room. I want brief descriptions and we'll cover the rest in an interview.

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