20 Words That Can Destroy Your Resume


Recently we have familiarized you with 185 resume words that can make your resume awesome and powerful words. Now it’s time to discuss the other side of things – words that can destroy your resume.

As a resume is a short statement of your experience and achievements, every word in it matters. Using inappropriate language has already destroyed the success for more worthy job seekers than you can assume. Jargon, obvious words and buzzwords are the surefire way to get your resume to ‘No’ pile. How to change the situation and make your resume more effective? Make sure your resume doesn’t contain one of the words from the list.

  1. Responsible for

This is one of the top resume killers for several reasons: it’s over used, it’s vague and it’s impossible to describe your skills effectively in a sentence that starts with ‘responsible for’. Try to use strong resume action verbs as well as be more specific about your experience rather than stating your areas of responsibility.

‘Handled 250+ customer calls and processed 30+ claims per day’ in a resume looks much better than ‘Responsible for answering the phone’.

  1. Worked

Apart from being generic, it gives the hiring manager absolutely no idea of what exactly you did. For example, ‘Worked on incident response methodology’ makes little sense. Did you author it from scratch or just corrected the previous one? Did you implement it, train people or someone else did it? As the hiring manager doesn’t have his questions answered, he’s likely just to toss your resume.

‘Developed and implemented incident response methodology (policy and plan). Trained 50 people which led to 30% less incidents’ sells you more effectively.

  • Go-getter

People who include this word in their resumes think that it makes them look enthusiastic and successful. In fact, they look like someone who cannot describe their specific strengths using facts and hope that buzzwords will save the day. No, they won’t. So, write the facts for what you did – and remove the meaningless words.

  • Experienced in

It’s hard to imagine less informative word in resume than this one. ‘Experienced’ means something that you did; maybe you did in once and wasn’t very good at it. Again, try and be more specific if you want to catch the attention. ‘Experienced in leading company blog’ sounds shallow. ‘Created informative web pages about the company which and doubled number of visitors’ gives more concrete details about your capabilities.

  • References upon request

It was common to add this line at the end of resumes like 15 years ago, but for some reasons applicants keep writing it. If the hiring manager wants to talk to your referees, he’ll let you know about it. Period. No need to waste the precious line writing obvious things; moreover, as has been told before, it makes your resume look outdated.

  • Problem solver/problem solving skills

This may come as a surprise, but every kind of job involves resolving particular problems. So, what kind of problems does that statement imply to? If you want to demonstrate the ability to resolve complex issues efficiently and come up with the innovative solution, give your examples. What was the problem you solved and how did the company benefit from it?

Compare ‘Built social media strategy and resolved problems’ to ‘Corrected content marketing strategy and boosted user retention rate by 25%’. If you don’t have such examples, just skip that meaningless phrase.

  • Microsoft Office/Word/Excel

Everyone can use these programs these days, so it makes absolutely no sense to write that separately in your resume. There’s one exception to this rule, though: if the job advert specifies that the candidate should be MS Office proficient, you can include this information.

  • Assisted

This word is okay to use on resume – until you do it right. Many people overuse the word ‘assisted’ when it can - and should – be replaced with other, stronger action verb. For example, a person can write ‘assisted with developing project budget’, when in fact there should be ‘contributed to project budget development’. Don’t be too shy to demonstrate your contribution to something meaningful.

  • Hard-working

Another word that is often overused by job seekers. See, nobody believes that you worked hard until you provide an upbeat proof. Maybe, you stayed at work late to get the project launched on time? Or, your client approach helped you to meet and exceed the sales goal for the department?  Anyway, these measurable achievements will demonstrate your ability to work hard much better than if you stated you’re ‘hard-working’.

  • Team player/work well in a team

A ‘team player’ cliché is used in nearly every resume. Just like the above examples, it makes little sense when used on its own, without real practical examples. Want to convince someone you work well as a part of the team? Then, provide the examples of collaboration within your department or with other departments as well as what results you managed to reach while working as a part of the team. ‘Coordinated project details with engineering department to reduce waste and launch the product on time’ is a good example of collaboration.

  • Thought leadership

Did you lead/supervise a team? Then, indicate how many people you managed, which actions you took to develop/motivate them and which results your group/department achieved. That’s what the hiring managers are looking for in manager’s resume. ‘Thought/visionary leadership’ without measurable results specified make an impression that you try to seem better than you are or you are hiding something.

  • Detail-oriented

Anyone can say they’re detail-oriented. If this is about you – show! Give the examples of your example to your attention to detail – or remove this word to free some space for really valuable information. If you are controller or an inspector, giving examples of your attention to detail (while checking reports, correcting errors, etc.) will make your resume really valuable.

The bottom line gives more examples of words which should be crossed out of your resume the sooner the better. The idea, however, is pretty much the same: instead of enriching your resume with loud, vague words, give specific examples of what you did for the company and give them with figures whenever possible. This is what makes your resume noticeable, not statements that you are ‘motivated’, ‘enthusiastic’, etc.

 Want to clean up your resume and remove everything what isn’t necessary? We offer you the service of Resume Editing. At a very affordable fee, our professional writer will correct minor mistakes, improve structure and make your resume shine.

Have you ever used buzzwords on your resume? Was that resume a success or you struggled getting an interview?

Our experienced writers can create a powerful resume suitable for each position. However, you may also request a specific resume depending on the job you are applying for, thus it will be tailored individually for your profession:

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