6 Overused Words and Phrases You Definitely Have on Your Resume

Kema Christian-Taylor
6 Overused Words and Phrases You Definitely Have on Your Resume

Writing a resume can be incredibly daunting and difficult, which sometimes results in you using the same generic buzzwords and phrases that everyone else uses.

But when it finally comes time to apply to that dream job or internship, you are going to want to make sure that your resume stands out among the rest of the students applying for the same position. In order to write a successful and compelling resume, I’ve compiled a list of overused words and phrases usually found on resumes (and how to make ‘em better).

1. “Organized”

This one’s a doozy whether you use it as an adjective or a verb. Being organized should be a given when you are applying for a job. Why would a hiring manager want to hire anyone who is disorganized? By using this term to describe yourself, you are just wasting valuable real estate on your resume and the hiring manager’s time. If you really want to highlight your organizational skills, try providing a real world example like, “Created and implemented an easy-to-use filing system for 10,000 documents that streamlined the sales process.”

2. “Performed Data Entry”

As a generation, students have grown up uploading content. At this point, hiring managers can assume that students applying for a job or internship can and should be able to upload content or perform simple data entry into programs like Excel.

In order to make your uploading and entry skills stand out though, be specific and say something like, “Curated multimedia content” for those pursuing a job in the communications industry, or “Collected data to be entered into the management system,” for those in a more number and statistics heavy field. Give numbers of other specifics if you can.

3. “Team Player”

Again, this is an issue of redundancy. Any job that you will ever work at will expect and require you to work as a team player. Collaboration is key in most, if not all, fields, and saying you are a team player is an ineffective term.

However, if you really want to highlight the fact that you play well with others, use phrases like, “Managed a group of seven people, which led to a 124% increase in output.” By saying you managed a team and showing impact, you are telling a hiring manager that you can delegate tasks to people while also working with them to produce the best results.

4. “Proficient in Microsoft Word”

If this is on your resume, take it off right now. In today’s job market, it is assumed that people (especially young people) are able to handle Microsoft Word at the least. To make your skill set stand out, highlight the fact that you know a specific video editing software or Adobe Creative Suite.

And obviously, don’t stretch the truth about how well you know a certain program; you don’t want to say you’re “proficient” at Excel when you don’t know a single function.

5. “Responsible For”

The whole point of a resume is to highlight what you were responsible for at your previous jobs or activities. Phrases like this bog your resume down in superfluous terms that will take your resume right out of the running. Be concise and action-oriented with your bullet points, and don’t waste time or valuable space.

6. “Improved”

This word is not as bad as the previous ones, but what puts it on this list is because so many resumes have it but fail to be specific. You might have improved a system or improved customer relations, but there is no concrete data behind the sentiment that a hiring manager can use to assess how successful you would be. Instead of using “improved,” use something like “increased by 47%” or “decreased by 22%” to display the actual success of your situation.

Now that you know some words to stay away from, pull up those resumes and get to revising them. The sooner your resume stands out, the sooner you will land that killer job or internship.