Ten Phrases Killing Your Résumé (and Ten Great Alternatives)

December 24th, 2016

A quality résumé remains a big factor in earning you a first interview, and the technology industry is no exception. You need to ensure the language in your CV is up to date, with no tired clichés or meaningless verbiage causing the hiring manager to overlook your potential candidacy.

Here are ten vague and generally useless phrases to keep off your résumé, along with excellent alternatives for each one. They will help you get an interview for the IT job of your dreams.

  1. “I’m a motivated self-starter.” Hiring managers don’t want to see self-serving, meaningless phrases like the above. They want details on your accomplishments and examples of your motivation.
  2. “I’m a team player.” In this era of Agile and DevOps, all technology companies expect their employees to be team players. Instead, go into tangible detail on how well you interacted with co-workers throughout your work history.
  3. “I have excellent communication skills.” Here is another example of “show me – don’t tell me.” Display your ability to communicate in your cover letter, as well as leaving off meaningless verbiage from your résumé.
  4. “I assisted in (insert a task here).” Never mention you “assisted” in anything. Once again, this is a phrase that doesn’t really say anything. The résumé needs to be filled with detailed examples of your professional accomplishments.
  5. “I’m used to a fast-paced environment.” Nearly all IT jobs are in fast-paced environments. This phrase does nothing to highlight your abilities. Instead, list some examples of how you thrived when under pressure.
  6. “I’m an out-of-the-box thinker.” This is merely an outdated cliché rarely used in the today’s business world. Instead, describe some of the innovative solutions you devised for previous employers.
  7. “I have a proven track-record.” Once again, this is a tired and worn-out phrase worthy of the circular file. The hiring manager will find proof from the detailed accomplishments on your résumé.
  8. “I have (any variety of generic) skills.” Hiring managers depend on a detailed résumé filled with keywords denoting a candidate’s abilities. Leave off any generic skills – negotiating, organizational, administrative, etc. – in favor of specific skills.
  9. “I have a bottom-line orientation.” Instead of using this example of old language, highlight any examples where you saved a previous employer money because of a technical achievement or innovative solution.
  10. “I’m a problem solver.” Yet another example of a vague phrase that tells a potential employer nothing. The tangible examples of the successes throughout your work history are evidence of your problem-solving skills.

If you need any additional help in writing a great résumé to attract the eyes of IT hiring managers, talk to the expert recruiters at Synerfac. As one of the top technology staffing agencies in Columbus and the rest of Ohio, we also know what great companies are looking for talent. Connect with us soon!

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