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6 Everday Words That Should NEVER Appear In Your Resume
September 17, 2014
You want the best job imaginable? And you believe that what you put out there is what you get back? Well, holy moley! Then take a tip from the best resume writers around and don’t include these words in your resume or cover letter! Each has a negative connotation that could jeopardize your chances for a call-back (or, worse, has a positive connotation in every OTHER context, except this one!)
Objective. This word is old, tired, dusty, and dated. Sure, plenty of people want the clothes, charisma, and smooth confidence of Mad Men’s Don Drapper, but if you use this noun on your resume you’ll get eye-rolls (and disrespect) from any recruiter who sees it. They’ll think you’re prehistoric and out-of-touch; ready to step into the vintage shag-rug life of Don’s inner circle. Switch it instead for something fresher like “Summary” or “Professional Profile”. Then you can have your martini vodka from a sexy little jello mold and look like the cool kid you really are.
Weird. Why? Because weird is just, well, weird. If you tried to insert sex words into a children’s story you would be like, “Whoa! Stop the presses!” It’s jarring and inappropriate; it doesn’t fit the context (at least not by the standards most of us live by!) The same holds true for words like "weird". You may be tempted to say things like, “Coordinated media event logistics and problem-solved an assortment of weird requests from celebrities and VIPs”, but don’t do it! Instead, opt for: “unusual requests, “unexpected and challenging requests”, or “creative requests”. These options all generate desirable curiosity for the reader, without making you look like the weirdo!
Lost. Yep. You guessed it. Say lost in a resume and you can lose the reader. Presto, rapido! It’s a big ol’ mind twist, but suffice it to say it’s like having a mustard stain on a white summer frock. The recruiter will wonder what in heck you were thinking. By saying, “Saved the bank $3MM by locating lost deposits” or “Expedited lost packages after they were recovered” you’re indicating that while you may have a fair grasp on the English language, you don’t understand the nuances that make those sentences fifty shades of wrong. Better to say, “Recovered missing deposits, resulting in $3MM reduction of annual write-offs and zero fees for external auditor” and “Managed expedited delivery process for all delayed, missing, and misdirected packages”. That way you can trash the dunce cap and get the respect you deserve!
No. Two little letters. Such a harmless word, you think. But no. (LOL) There is no reason to use no in your resume. No, you should not use it even in a grammatically correct sentence. No, you should not use it to juxtapose two ideas. No, you can’t keep a positive tone if you use no. No, don’t go any where near no. No. No! NO! NOOOOOOO! The idea here is to have an upbeat, personable view of your employment history, but, unfortunately, using the word no (yes, anywhere!) shifts the reader’s mindset immediately away from where you want it to be - on saying YES to you! Don’t believe me? Do the research yourself!
Unable. This should be easy to grasp, children. Now listen up! Unable means not able. Not is a derivative of no. And how do we feel about saying no in a resume now?? That’s right…NO doesn’t belong there!
Responsible. One final word, that I bet you think is not only normal and reasonable, but on a resume...preferred. Well, you’d be WRONG. “Responsible for division of 35 employees and an OpEx budget of $27MM”. Sounds good, right? WRONG. It sounds boring, dated, burdened, and flat. So what?, the reader questions as they yawn. Recruiters think: How many billions of times will I have to read that word on resumes before people pull out a damn thesaurus?? Switch it out for strategist, leader of, managed, or any other re-phrasing that will provide more insight into what you actually did - because god knows right now it sounds like you got the division and the budget as an assignment and there's NO sense of what you did with them once you got them!