The buzzwords and clichéd phrases that some job seekers sprinkle throughout their resumes and cover letters are meant to grab attention. But they can leave hiring managers confused – or wondering what the individual is trying to hide. The following are examples of terms to avoid when putting together your resume and cover letter:
• Familiar with… Saying that you are “familiar with…” something does not provide any insight into your actual knowledge or ability, or the depth of your experience. Always be specific when discussing the expertise you possess, particularly when it comes to your technical skills.
• Responsibilities include… One common mistake candidates make in a resume is to present a long list of duties from their last job. What hiring managers would prefer to read about are your accomplishments. If you helped your previous employer increase efficiencies or cut costs, for instance, don’t keep it a secret.
• Optimize, leverage and utilize. You may think these words sound powerful, but really they’re nebulous. If you include terms like these in your resume or cover letter, a hiring manager may think you cannot communicate in a straightforward manner. Keep things simple: Instead of saying, “leveraged resources to increase network efficiency,” briefly describe your approach and the results you achieved. Don’t go overboard, though. Save some details for the interview.
The best way to earn an interview – and, ultimately, a job – is to present an accurate portrayal of your abilities and experience using language that clearly describes exactly what you have accomplished in your career.