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10 Words Recruiters Hate Seeing on Your Resume (and 10 They Love)

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: With so little space and so much awesome information about your career to share, it’s critical that you get picky with the words you use on your resume.

Unfortunately, when trying to make a resume that stands out, people often get a little too, shall we say, creative with their word choices, opting for corporate-sounding buzzwords that they think hiring managers want to hear, rather than simply describing their accomplishments.

Well, we’ve got news for you: It’s time to cut the jargon.

Last week, a survey asking more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals about their biggest resume word turn-offs (and turn-ons). The results are enlightening: Turns out, no one really wants to see those oft-used business buzzwords and clichés—think “results-driven,” “team player,” and, surprisingly, “hard worker.” Instead of vaguely describing your achievements, it seems hiring managers prefer you show exactly what results you achieved or what makes you such a “team player,” using strong and simple action verbs (“achieved,” “improved,” and “trained” or “mentored” stood out among the favorites).

You can check out a sampling of the best and worst words below, When it comes to the words you choose on your resume, keep it simple. Clearly and accurately describe what you’ve done in the past, and it will become obvious to hiring managers why you’re the “best of breed.”

The Worst Resume Terms

  1. Best of breed
  2. Go-getter
  3. Think outside of the box
  4. Synergy
  5. Go-to person
  6. Results-driven
  7. Team player
  8. Hard worker
  9. Strategic thinker
  10. Detail-oriented

The Best Resume Terms

  1. Achieved
  2. Improved
  3. Trained/Mentored
  4. Managed
  5. Created
  6. Influenced
  7. Increased/Decreased
  8. Negotiated
  9. Launched
  10. Under budget
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