Nobody likes to apply for a job let alone fill out a resume but it’s a necessary evil when you need to keep a roof over your head and food on the table.
Unfortunately, some people do a terrible job of filling out their resume. They end up using certain buzzwords that make their resumes stick out like a sore thumb.
The problem with using buzzwords is that they are so overused that it makes you look lazy to the potential employer.
Nobody wants to think that the resume they’re reading was created by a robot but that’s how they often read when you stick a ton of resume buzzwords into them.
The 10 Most Overused Resume Buzzwords
The career social network LinkedIn did an analysis of the most used buzzwords on profile and these are the words they found (listed in order of frequency):
- Extensive experience
- Proven track record
- Team player
- Problem solver
Just looking at the list you know it’s a list for resumes, right?
How many times have you used some of those words? It’s okay, it’s only natural because they feel right. They just seem like the right words to use when you need to sell yourself.
Unfortunately, because everyone else is using them as well they just make you sound like a clone of every other person that is trying to get the job.
Top 40 Overused Words on Resumes
Let’s take it a step further to see the 40 most overused words on resumes (in alphabetical order).
- Bottom-Line Oriented
- Client Focused
- Creative Thinker
- Cutting Edge
- Detail Oriented
- Driven Professional
- Extensive Experience
- Fast Paced
- Go-To Person
- Goal Oriented
- Highly Skilled
- Problem Solver
- Proven Track Record
- Quality Driven
- Quick Learner
- Road Warrior
- Seasoned Professional
- Skill Set
- Strategic Thinker
- Strong Work Ethic
- Team Player
- Tiger Team
- Value Add (Added)
- Works Well Under Pressure
- Works Well With Others
The problem with using these words on your resume is that they’ve become so used that they are now vague.
Employers are looking for specifics on how you can help them so by letting them know you are a “team player” that isn’t really telling them much.
It’s not that you can’t use any of these words, it’s just important to understand that these words will have less of an impact than you think they do.
Buzzwords in Interviews
It’s also important to be careful using these buzzwords in interviews. If they seem cringey on paper then they are even worse when you say them to another person.
Using these buzzwords in your interviews can actually have a negative impact on what you are trying to achieve.
Instead, you want to make sure you use the industry jargon that the interviewer expects. This will show that you have a firm grasp of the industry and it can let the guard down of the interviewer.
This especially holds true if the interviewer uses the jargon themselves.
If you’re brand new to an industry then you might want to spend some time researching some of the jargon/keywords used so you aren’t lost.
Replacing Buzzwords on Your Resume
So what do you do when you shouldn’t use buzzwords on your resume?
Career counselors suggest that you offer specifics instead.
For example, if you want to say you have extensive experience then you’re better off stating the amount of years in the industry that you have.
You can also name specific projects that you’ve worked on that will showcase that experience.
Don’t use buzzwords to hide your qualifications. Let your qualifications speak for themselves.
Your resume should showcase exactly what you can do for your future employer. They want to understand what you’re capable of and how you can help grow the company.
Buzzwords won’t do that for them.
Picking the Right Resume Words
So how do you go about picking the right words to use on your resume?
The first place to look is the job listing itself. Does it use industry jargon that you can sneak into your resume?
The person that put the job profile together is looking for someone that can fulfill that role so it makes sense to show them that you can by using their words.
After that, do some research and find keywords that the job description doesn’t use but still applies to the industry. This way you can show your knowledge of the industry before the interviewer has a chance to ask you a question.
You want to look for keywords related to skills, qualities, and credentials that the hiring manager is looking for.
This part is important because a lot of companies use automated tracking systems for resumes. What are these?
It means your resume goes through a computer before a human ever sees it so you need to pass the computer first.
Sounds stupid? Yes. But it’s the reality that we live in now unfortunately.
Sell Your Skills with Actionable Words
If you really want to sell your skills on your resume and showcase the keywords that you’ve researched then you should pair them with actionable words.
Action words help you sell your skills in an active, compelling way while also describing your accomplishments in an efficient way.
Here is just a sample of the action words that you can use:
This is just a small sample of the action words that you can use.
Elevate Your Resume with Power Words
Buzzwords, keywords, action words and now power words?
Power words can help put the finishing touches on your resume. They are used specifically to evoke a powerful human emotion.
It’s important to remember that while buzzwords will help you get through a lot of the automated resume filtering, getting a job really comes down to your ability to present your experience to the hiring manager.
In this case it comes down to how well do you to tell the story of yourself.