These suggestions are based
on the article “Choose
your words carefully when crafting a resume,” by Molly Joss.
It’s hard to believe that a few
words could irritate someone enough to make them stop reading your resume, but
it’s true. Some hiring managers and recruiters admit that they have their own
mental lists of words that annoy them. Resume how-to books may recommend that
you pack your resume full of as many verbs, adjectives, and adverbs as you can.
But if you aren’t careful, you could turn off more prospective employers than
you entice. Effective word choice is what really appeals to hiring managers–not
action verbs and glittery modifiers. Here’s a rundown of some words that hiring
managers say detract from the persuasiveness of resumes they see.
- Reasons to avoid: Hiring managers want to know
what you did, not how you helped. If you’re familiar enough with a task to put
it on your resume, you can choose a better word than assist.
- Example: Assisted marketing director by
- Possible rephrasing: Researched PDAs for
- Reasons to avoid: No one wants to hear about
what you tried to do–only what you have accomplished.
- Example: Experimented with new LAN management
- Possible rephrasing: Tested and evaluated new
LAN management software.
Skillfully, effectively, carefully, quickly, expert, mastered
- Reasons to avoid: Hiring managers often object
to words that describe how well you do a particular task. In many cases, it
comes across as boastful–and it’s unnecessary. “If you aren’t good at it, why
are you putting it on your resume?” one recruiter said.
- Example: Skillfully managed transition from
Windows NT to Windows Server 2003.
- Possible rephrasing: Migrated organization from
Windows NT to Windows Server 2003 with no downtime during business hours.
Cutting-edge, detail-oriented; coordinate, facilitate, transform; proven
ability, synergy, and liaison
- Reasons to avoid: Hiring managers say such words
take up space without communicating much. They’ve seen them so often that the
words have lost their original energy.
- Example: Detail-oriented manager with proven
ability to oversee day-to-day network operations and to implement major
- Possible rephrasing: Supervised an eight-member
IS staff; completed two full-scale platform migrations; consolidated equipment
and resources following facilities move.
- Reasons to avoid: You’re a manager, so of course
you’re responsible for something. Specify exactly what your responsibilities
are and work in a few numbers to convey the scope of what you do.
- Example: Responsible for managing inventory,
overseeing network operations, making new equipment purchases, troubleshooting
- Possible rephrasing: Supervised the support of
70 users running Windows XP and two servers running Windows Server 2003;
implemented asset management plan for inventorying equipment; built a network
operations team responsible for the internal infrastructure.