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13 Words and Phrases Recruiters Hate Seeing on a Resume

There’s no shortage of finding resume tips when you do a simple Google search, but what about specific words or phrases that you should avoid including on your resume? Give yourself the best chance at getting the job you want by keeping these 13 words and phrases off your resume.

  1. “Rockstar”

Unless you are turning the clock back to 2010 or are a legit guitar-slinging rock star, don’t include this noun on your resume. It’s become an overused business buzzword and not something that’s going to jump off the page for any recruiter.

  1. “Customer-Centric”

If you aren’t customer-centric, then you aren’t in the business of helping a company make money. How many companies are going to hire someone who doesn’t have their financial health in mind?

  1. “References Available Upon Request”

This phrase can come across as sounding a little desperate to a recruiter. If references are something a recruiter wants, they will ask you for them at some point in the interview process.

  1. Acronyms

It’s important to make sure that whatever you are trying to communicate is understood. With that in mind, it’s best to write out the acronym upon the first mention. For example, if you are in the medical field and want to share that you are a member of the American Medical Association, it should be written as American Medical Association (AMA).

  1. “Responsible For”

Any previous employment you include on your resume means you were “responsible for” something. Since this is a given, you could change a phrase like “responsible for a group of 15 salespeople” to “managed a group of 15 salespeople.”

  1. “Microsoft Office”

Any recruiter expects that the candidate they choose to interview has experience with this program. On a resume, space is a hot commodity, so don’t waste it by stating anything less than impactful.

  1. 1st/3rd Person Terms

Besides the fact that writing in the first or third person comes across like someone else wrote your resume, it can sound awkward. Instead of saying, “I proofread copy daily,” make it more actionable by changing it to “Proofread copy daily.”

  1. “Hard worker”

You can file this under things that are a given. Again, no recruiter wants to bring in someone for an interview who isn’t hardworking, so save yourself the space and showcase a skill or characteristic that makes you stand out.

  1. “Unemployed”

Recruiters are smart enough to understand that job gaps mean you were unemployed at that time. There’s no reason to insult a recruiter’s intelligence or sabotage the space you’ve been given to impress a recruiter.

  1. “Expert”

Be prepared to back this up. The recruiter might pepper you with questions to determine how much of an “expert” you are. Keep in mind that your definition of an expert might not match up with theirs.

  1. “Results-Driven”

Instead of simply stating this, actually say what you’ve done to drive results. Come up with examples and use numbers to make your achievements jump off the page.

  1. “Ambitious”

This characteristic might seem like a good one to have, but a recruiter might see this as a candidate who will want to move up quickly. This would lead to the recruiter having to go through the whole interviewing process again sooner than they were anticipating.

  1. Can’t

Any negative term isn’t going to look good on your resume. Not only does it showcase your incompetence instead of what you can accomplish, but it sets a less than positive tone for the recruiter reviewing it.

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