Most Overused Words on Resumes


Each year, analysts at LinkedIn and employers reveal the most overused word on resumes and profiles. The incorporation of these repetitive adjectives makes candidates indistinguishable, which tends to lead to them being perceived as unemployable. The most used words on resumes includes: responsible, creative, effective, patient, expert, organizational, driven, innovative, analytical, and strategic. The word “responsible” was used more than twice as much as any other adjective on the list. It is the only word to appear the most on profiles in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Netherlands, Sweden, Great Britain, India, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

Official career specialist of LinkedIn, Nicole Williams, says that the collection of words should serve as a reminder to job seekers that it is always better to display rather than sell yourself on a resume. She explains that providing specific and concrete examples of your accomplishments is always better than grandiose adjectives about your abilities. She says that while there is nothing wrong with being effective, driven and innovative, it does not distinguish a potential employee from the rest of the job pool. which should be the primary goal when constructing a resume. Williams urges differentiating yourself by uniquely describing your past experiences and accomplishments with specific knowledge, details, and examples.

Employers stress that they much prefer candidates utilize active language in their resumes, tie their declarations to actual results, and let others vouch for you via recommendations. Job searching professionals also illustrate how important it is to keep your resume up-to-date–even if you are employed. Accomplishments noteworthy of a resume can occur at anytime and should be placed on a resume before the individual can forget it.

Kathy Sweeney, a professional resume writer, says resumes are professional marketing tools that serve to distinguish the author of the resume from others vying for the position. She asserts that by including one, or more, of the most overused words on resumes greatly diminishes your ability to accomplish that goal.

Sally Stetson, CEO of the Salveson Stetson Group, an executive search firm, suggests that employers want to see career progression, potential growth, and concrete examples of accomplishments in candidates’ resumes. She describes the process of selection as “exclusion” rather than “inclusion.” Employers look for keywords in their candidates resume and they do not include any of the list of worn out descriptive words above. They include specific adjectives like “marketing,” “sales” and “business development.”

Sweeney, Stetson, and other employers believe that detail is always the most important thing when making resumes. They assert that the resume is supposed to be a descriptive account of what you have done, who you are, and your capabilities. By using overused words instead of specific examples, potential employees are not giving their reviewers any indication of who they are and what they are capable of doing–a “debilitating disservice” to job seekers. On her website, Stetson offers better alternatives to the cliched and most overused words on resumes she sees often.

By Andres Loubriel

Business Insider

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