Best, worst words to use in a resume

How much time do hiring managers spend reviewing a resume? And how much less time might they give to a resume chock-full of clichés?

CareerBuilder can answer the first question: Less than 2 minutes, which is the average for 68 percent of those it surveyed.

As to question No. 2, well, no one knows, but the safe bet is even less time, especially given that one in six (17 percent) hiring managers spend 30 seconds or less on a resume.

So what does this tell job-seekers?

The same thing that any English teacher worth her or his salt (yes, that’s a cliché) would offer: Stay away from overused, worn-out phrasing.

“Hiring managers prefer strong action words that define specific experience, skills and accomplishments,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of HR at CareerBuilder. “Subjective terms and clichés are seen as negative because they don’t convey real information. For instance, don’t say you are ‘results-driven’; show the employer your actual results.”

So, just what are some of the worst resume terms? And what about ones that are viewed in a positive light?

CareerBuilder has the list, thanks to another of its surveys.

The following 10 terms are resume turn-offs, and how often they were mentioned by survey respondents:

1. Best of breed: 38 percent

2. Go-getter: 27 percent

3. Think outside of the box: 26 percent

4. Synergy: 22 percent

5. Go-to person: 22 percent

6. Thought leadership: 16 percent

7. Value add: 16 percent

8. Results-driven: 16 percent

9. Team player: 15 percent

10. Bottom-line: 14 percent 

And, now, here are the best resume terms:

1. Achieved: 52 percent

2. Improved: 48 percent

3. Trained/mentored: 47 percent

4. Managed: 44 percent

5. Created: 43 percent

6. Resolved: 40 percent

7. Volunteered: 35 percent

8. Influenced: 29 percent

9. Increased/decreased: 28 percent

10. Ideas: 27 percent

 

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