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Terms and Phrases To Avoid In Your Resume and Cover Letter

Your resume is often the first and only impression an HR professional may see, so when describing yourself, define your skills, education, expertise and accomplishments that address the job description and specified requirements the employer is seeking.

According to the Wall Street Journal Digital Network, the stand-by descriptors "motivated," "team player," and "innovative" are some of the most over used terms in LinkedIn profiles.  Not necessarily the way to make you stand out from other applicants.

Consider that some adjectives may give the wrong impression.  You may write "over 30 years of experience" thinking the recruiter who reads your resume will take that as knowledgeable and competent, but this may trigger thoughts like "not technologically astute," or “may retire soon.”

Try to avoid clichés.  You're a "people person" who is "goal oriented" and has a "strong work ethic."  It sounds like the perfect employee, but it may look similar to many of the other resumes that the hiring professional has read that day.  Instead of using vague descriptions, try to describe specific accomplishments that demonstrate the traits which contribute to generating revenue, increasing the customer base or patronage, improving the guest experience, reducing turnover, or incorporating technology to increase efficiency.

Several terms/phrases to avoid in a resume or cover letter:
Words that make you sound  technologically challenged, expensive, or inflexible
•Seasoned, over 30 years of experience, Jack-of-all-trades

Words that are hollow descriptors or clichés
•Fantastic, splendid, amazing, phenomenal, awesome, expert, successful, cool, spectacular, team player, innovative, exceptional skills, self-starter, quick learner

Words that are attached to strong emotions
•Hate, love, joy, happiness, despise, abhor, pleasure

Words that describe you physically or personally
•Health-conscious, athletic, energetic, honest, ethical, astute

Words that describe your political or spiritual views
•Liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, monotheistic, polytheistic, atheist, agnostic

Resume readers want to know specifics related to your expertise and accomplishments and how you’ll affect their bottom line.  So, your resume needs to tell them:

1. What is your skill set and what makes you more valuable than other candidates?
2. What can you do that will generate revenue?
3. Did you do anything innovative that made a difference?
4. How did you improve employee or customer/guest relations patronage?
5. How did you increase profits by improving productivity or operational efficiency?

Source material from Yahoo Finances, Wall Street Journal, and Focus.