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QUESTION: I’ve been advised against using “cliché words” in my resume. How can I know what they are?

Edward Lawrence, Getstarted LLC

They are vague assertions and claims used so much that they no longer matter to recruiters and hiring-managers. Examples include: hard-working; flexible; proactive; goal-oriented; determined; driven; dynamic; team-player; versatile. Anyone can claim any of these. Instead, list your skills and cite accomplishments. Demonstrate how you are hard-working, proactive, versatile, etc.  

Cheryl Minnick, University of Montana

In a “nutshell,” a cliche is an overused word or phrase lacking original thought. Vague and lacking authenticity, cliches are often overlooked by the reader and add wordiness (redundancy) to your writing. “Going forward,” edit repeatedly, write tight, and choose words strategically to (AIDA) gain attention and interest, fan desire and action. (NRWA Study Guide).

Elaine Doremus, Resumes Written

Results driven, dependable, exceptional, team player, people person, self-starter, detail oriented, self-motivated, go-getter, hard worker, dynamic, bottom line, strategic thinker. Instead, put specific words/examples: Resolved customer service challenges, developed efficient system to replace time consuming system, increased sales by 13%, launched Smith project, trained five employees.

Grant Cooper, Strategic Resumes & Business Plans

Many resume strategy authors and career coaches advise against the use of the latest catchwords of the day… words and phrases such as “team player” or “leveraging synergies,” or “driving results.” If you concentrate on applying measurable achievements and specific projects to your job descriptions, you can easily avoid the trap of submitting a resume that is perceived as lightweight or trendy.

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