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words to avoid in resume

Words To Avoid In Resume That Can Kill Your Chances

When you are writing your resume you should consider what words to include and what words to avoid in your resume.

Your resume is short-lived in front of the recruiter’s eyes. At that moment recruiter is scanning your achievements, it is important for you to add words that communicate and describe your value to the hiring manager.

Since your profile has limited space you must try to provide the details which are most appropriate and important for the job. You must avoid resume buzzwords or annoying jargon.

In this article let’s look at some of the most common and overused words.

List of Words to Avoid in Resume

1. Go-getter

It is more a cliché term than an action word. This word does not mean that you are the initiator. It is more a buzzword. Instead of using this word use ‘outperformed’, ‘maximized’, ‘produced’.

2. Add value

This is the most common word candidates add in their profile while mentioning their achievements and for showing how they added value to the previous company. Instead of using this word use words like ‘revenue’, ‘under budget’, ‘increased’, etc with numbers.

3. Team player

It is another most common word which you can find in almost every biodata. Yet it becomes hard to prove how you are a team player. Instead of this use words like ‘cooperated’, ‘mentored’, etc.

4. Hard worker

This is an overused highly subjective word. You should try not to just write words in your cv, provide a proof or a supporting sentence for it as well. If you are using this word provide examples to demonstrate how you are a hard worker.

5. Self-motivated

Anyone can say they are self-motivated. This word alone does not prove anything. Instead of using this word, try to explain it in your profile with some examples of what you are motivated about?

6. Detail-oriented

This is yet another overly used subjective word. It can backfire when the candidates don’t provide details in their profile. If you really work on details, write it in your biodata with some detailed examples from your past job.

7. Synergy

It sounds more trendy word and powerful but actually, it doesn’t prove any point. Instead of this word use ‘cooperated’, ‘unified’, ‘cultivated’.

8. Honest

This is more of a quality which you can be proved with time but not in words. So there is no use of writing such words.

9. Unemployed

If you have a large gap in your career don not use this word to describe your point. Instead, you can provide details of some online course or volunteer experience which you get during this time.

10. Reference available by request

You know you have limited space in your cv to put all your qualities. So, don’t mention such things which are not necessary and are eating up your profile space.

A study reveals that recruiters are more likely to prefer a two-page resume. If it is required the recruiter explicitly asks for it or mentioned it in the job description.

11. Dynamic

This is an adjective that defines your personality more than your skills. It is better to avoid this word as it will be difficult to prove this point on your profile. Let the employer decide and your dynamic personality.

12. Think out of the box

This is one such old and common phrase that recruiter see from time to time. That’s why it is a good idea to avoid such word and instead use words like created, developer, or conceptualized

13. Capable

It is not recommended to use this word alone because if you are applying for a job that means you are capable to perform all those tasks mentioned in the job description.

Instead of just using this word tell the hiring manager how you are capable of performing certain tasks with some supporting sentences or proof.

14. Result-oriented

This is yet one such word that needs proof. There will be no meaning of this word to a recruiter without a supporting sentence or result.

In fact, this word is actually not required in your profile unless you have some proof like numbers, percentage,s, etc.

15. Experienced

This is one among such words that are nothing but empty and hollow words. They fall short in meaning and will lead the recruiter to nowhere.

Instead of stating you’re experienced in some field better is to state and provide some sentences in its support that will help the recruiter to understand your credibility. Thus, this will make the statement more strong.

Where to Avoid Using Action Statements

To this point, if you have not used action verbs or powerful adjectives in your cv, then you must redo it and include some useful yet engaging adjectives.

But using anywhere and everywhere will not serve the purpose. So here we have mentioned where you should avoid the use of power words.

1. When describing yourself

This is not always advised but you should avoid using adjectives while describing yourself. It may look as if you are proving yourself to the hiring manager but in reality, this is not the case.

2. In place of measurement

You should never try and add descriptive words in places that are best described by numbers. Such as “Attainted sales profit”. Instead, try and justify your skill and achievements as “Attainted 25% more sales profit two times in a row.”

Always support your statement with a numerical figure this makes it more strengthening.

3. If you can’t claim what’s written

Using or adding adjectives in your cv just to impress the recruiter is not a good practice. You should make it a habit what you say is true. You will fall flat on your face when asked about the specifications in the interview.

Certain keywords when used without proper prove may be harmful to you. It’s better not to use any such skills than to give false claims.


Your profile is the first thing that the recruiter sees. You should try not to fill any cliché or overused words in your profile.

For a better understanding of profile keywords, read my article on powerful words to use in cv. You need to keep in mind that your cv is your marketing tool and it needs to connect with the recruiter right away.

Instead of using words that the recruiter is already familiar with try this new approach of using active words or to[p adjectives in your profile to impress the recruiter.

Over to You

What are your views on using overused words in profile? Does the new approach of using powerful words work for you? Tell us in the comment section.

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