6 Words to Avoid When Writing Your Resumé

You have six seconds to grab a recruiter’s attention, meaning every word on your resumé counts. With one quick scan, you want to compel a hiring manager into calling you; that requires strong action verbs, quantifying your achievements, and remembering to show, not tell. So, when writing your resumé, don’t waste those precious six seconds on any of these six words.

Top Six Words to Avoid Using on Your Resumé

1. Believe

Hiring managers don’t care about what you “believe,” they care about what you know and have accomplished. The word “believe”—or similarly, “feel”—indicates a lack of self-confidence. Use strong action verbs when detailing previous positions, such as:

  • Achieved
  • Improved
  • Negotiated
  • Launched
  • Managed
  • Trained
  • Mentored

2. I

Employers reading your resumé know you’re the one behind the achievements bulleted. Although first-person is preferred, pronouns like “I” and “me” are redundant.

Plus, you want to keep the focus on the employer; repeated use of “I” detracts from that.

3. Hardworking

Anyone can call him or herself a “hard worker”—the words mean nothing if they’re not backed by results. Let your resumé do the talking. If worded properly, hiring managers will jump to the conclusion you are a hard worker on their own.

4. Team Player

“Team player” is similar to “hard worker”—show, don’t tell. To better determine cultural fit, an employer is likely to ask, “What role do you tend to play on a team?” If asked, get specific. Are you a leader who can motivate the team? A creative who enjoys dreaming up the next big idea? Or do you prefer to be the one extinguishing fires? Each of those descriptions say more than “team player.”

5. Results-oriented

Employers want someone who’s results-oriented, but simply using the phrase won’t land you a job. Hiring managers want to see results, so put your achievements in numbers they’ll understand. You taking a “results-oriented approach to sales” doesn’t sound as impactful as you having “improved sales by 30 percent month over month.”

6. Responsible For

Don’t let employers assume you mechanically fulfill job requirements. Employment website Monster said it best: “Having been responsible for something isn’t something you did—it’s something that happened to you.” Turn phrases like “responsible for” into an action verb listed above.