Your resume is your means to sell yourself to an employer. It must be enticing enough for the hiring manager to want to take the time to interview you. Avoiding overused and cliche phrases will not only make your resume stand out but it will show that you put extra effort into showing the employer what your demonstrated skills are. Whenever possible include specific examples that are result-oriented and give concrete numbers to demonstrate that you truly do posses the skill. Here are a list of commonly overused resume phrases and examples of better alternatives you can use to improve it. Some of the items are position specific but you can adapt them to fit your industry and position.
Overused Phrase: Excellent Communication Skills
Better Alternatives: Possesses superior communication skills, both verbal and written; Communicated on a professional and technical level; Conveyed quickly and effectively ideas in an influential manner.
Overused Phrase: Possesses Great Leadership Skills
Better Alternatives: Provided decisive, proactive operating leadership in numerous project situations; Conveyed quickly and effectively ideas in an influential manner; Thrives working in a team environment and in positions of leadership; led a team of seven associates to develop a program to involve line level employees in decisions that affect them; Transitioned employees and managers through an internal merger in March 2007.
Overused Phrase: Highly Committed and Motivated Employee
Better Alternatives: Recognized for superior work ethic and high levels of productivity; Honored as “Employee of the Year” in 2006; Awarded a $500 bonus for working overtime to meet end-of-month closing deadlines; Completed two DOL Wage & Hours Division Audits in 2006, resulting in no fines or penalties; Initiated production of a semi-monthly Employee Newsletter to help keep employees better informed. Fully responsible for its creation and distribution.
Overused Phrase: Implemented Programs to Cut Costs
Better Alternative: Created and implemented an Employee Referral Program to cut recruiting cost by over 1/3, increase quality of applicants and reduce turnover.
Overused Phrase: Excellent Follow-Up Skills
Better Alternatives: Track and verified all personnel completed all training, medical, equipment and paperwork requirements; Created postcard mailer to send to all applicants to inform them we had received their application.
Overused Phrase: Team Player
Better Alternative: Collaboratively prepared benefit packages for a total 3,000 document requirements collectively for each of the organization’s nine divisions; Worked with a group of corporate HR associates to coordinate and conduct a successful Annual Open Enrollment that provided employees with a chance to meet with providers and ask benefit-related questions.
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