5 Resume Clichés – and How to Avoid Them

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Recruiters get very tired of seeing the same words and phrases in every résumé. Job seekers mistakenly believe a potential employer always wants to see certain descriptions, but recruiters quickly lose interest with unimaginative descriptions. Look out for the five following résumé clichés, and learn more about how to find better ways to market your skills and experience.

“Team player”

The team player description really doesn’t mean anything. Everybody works as part of a team, so you aren’t adding any value by including this phrase in your resume. A recruiter will show a lot more interest if you can show how you support and work within your team. Talk about working practices that you have shaped, or find ways to describe how you have supported fellow employees. If you want an employer to value your team work skills, you need to describe what you have done.

“Conscientious worker”

Employers have the right to expect everybody to work conscientiously, as part of their working terms and conditions. Your ability to turn up on time, or do what your boss asks you to do, isn’t going to put you ahead of the competition. Your résumé needs to focus more on the things you have done that go beyond your basic job description. Talk about your willingness to take on extra responsibilities, or the creative ways that you have shaped your current role.

“Inspiring leader”

Good leaders need to show that they can inspire people, but adding this description to your résumé won’t convince a potential employer. Rather than adding a bland, generic statement, add evidence that proves how inspiring you are. Talk about changes in culture that you have led, and give evidence of how you improved the working environment. It’s also important to describe how many people you have led, and how complex the team structure was to work with. If you want to convince people of your leadership skills, you need to give plenty of detailed evidence.

“Looking for an exciting new challenge”

Many candidates state that they are looking for an exciting new challenge, as though they think that this will interest a potential employer. The reality is that this phrase has become almost meaningless, and really only shows that you don’t have much imagination. Give a recruiter more specific information about your aspirations. Talk about the skills you want to develop, or more detailed examples of opportunities you want to explore. Make sure that your résumé shows your vision for the future, and that you are working towards a clear goal.

“Problem solver”

It’s easy to see why candidates would think that a problem solver would appeal to an employer.  At face value, this phrase suggests that you can fix the issues that the company faces. Real problem solvers prove how they can meet challenges, and they rarely have to spell out that this is something they can do. Fill your résumé with examples of the challenges and issues that you have addressed, quantifying the impact in terms of money saved or profit gained.

It isn’t always easy to find the right words to describe what you can do, but its career suicide to stuff your job application full of clichés. Seek out the worst offenders in your résumé, and think creatively about better ways to show an employer what you can do.

For assistance with preparing your résumé contact the professional résumé writers at Résumés for Results. Or to learn more about the writer of this article [click here].