October 5, 2014

13 Resume Words You Should Never Use

Resumes are a necessary part of the job search, but there are some words and phrases that you should never put on your resume. There is nothing a recruiter hates more than a cookie cutter resume that looks like its been thrown together. By using certain resume words and phrases, you’re almost guaranteeing that your resume will end up in the trash. You don’t want that, do you?

Crafting a resume takes time and energy. Anyone with a job has gone through the process. If you want to join the workforce, you’ll have to do the same. When you sit down to type up your resume or update your resume on JobMonkey’s Resume Manager, don’t use the following resume words:

  • Unconventional
  • Hard Worker
  • Solid Communication Skills
  • Team Player
  • Flexible
  • Effective
  • Detail Oriented
  • Efficient
  • Guru
  • Experienced
  • Reliable
  • Guru
  • Responsible For

Did any of these resume words surprise you? Probably. They are all words that should describe you, but they are the same words that everyone uses on a resume. Boring, uncreative vocabulary like this list could be used by anyone writing a resume. They may be totally true, but you need to use your resume to show a recruiter why you are an asset to the company.

Don’t get us wrong, it’s great to be a hard working team player with a strong work ethic who is very ambitious. Instead of saying this (anyone can write this), show the recruiter why it’s true with facts. What have you done to earn this description? Let’s take a look at a few examples…

Responsible For

  • Before: Responsible for designing graphics for clients
  • After: Designed 400 graphics for clients in the entertainment, technology, and healthcare industries

Solid Communication Skills

  • Before: Experienced in writing newsletters and possess other strong communication skills
  • After: Wrote a bi-monthly newsletter that was delivered to 125,000 fans

Team Player

  • Before: Worked with a team to complete company projects
  • After: Organized, communicated, and completed eight digital marketing projects in one month with a team of software developers, technical writers, marketers, and advertisers


  • Before: I am social media marketing guru
  • After: Grew Facebook Fans by 50%, Twitter Followers by 72%, and developed FourSquare, Instagram, and other social media accounts


  • Before: I am a effective salesperson
  • After: Increased sales of memory foam pillows by 86% in the Boston area

As you can see, you need to focus on the facts. A bit of a creative twist takes boring words and creates tangible accomplishments. This is what recruiters like to see. Combine your quantifiable accomplishments with a few key words from the job listing and your resume will be good to go. Remember a resume must be designed to show, not to tell. Stick to the facts. Show why you are an asset and you’ll get hired.

Try these tips if you’re trying to write an entry level resume. If you need more resume advice, search JobMonkey for lots of great advice.

You can also learn about more of the worst resume words on CNN. Tell us in the comments below what other words you think should be eliminated from a resume.

About this Author 

Derek Lennon is a skier and writer who lives, works, and plays in the mountains. He travels the globe in search of snow and adventure. Life has allowed him to live and work all over the world doing cool jobs and loving every minute of it.

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