In many professionals’ eyes, writing resumes has become such a common and easy task for them. Yet, to write a resume that surely lands you jobs still is a tough ask. Because, it is not actually easy to write a resume without the language we have heard so often. That’s why we thought of writing about the ruining resume buzzwords and clichés in 2023. We thoroughly believe that this will help you overcome this challenge and stand out in the competitive fields.
Let's see what the buzzwords are, and how are they going to harm your perfect cv or resume.
What are Resume Buzzwords and Clichés?
Resume buzzwords are terms that are and have been commonly used on resumes by the applicants to draw the attention of the recruiters. These are also named as resume clichés. Because, these terms tend to have been overused enough to convey the unoriginal thought of it. However, there we can see two main flavors of buzzwords. The bitter buzzwords you need to avoid in your resume and the sweet buzzwords to include in that makes the resume standout. Let's see what they are and how to use them tactfully.
Why and how Resume Buzzwords and Clichés could be harmful?
Recruitment experts reveal that the most common mistake job seekers make is that they use a lot of resume buzzwords and clichés that are overused or cliché in their CV/resumes especially in the experience section which actually makes the resume reader less interested to hire them. Meaning that the CV writers often fail to showcase their authentic evidence-based skills (hard skills and soft skills) or achievements in a good language style. Rather they use vague and most common language that is not specific enough to make their career achievements and skills unique.
For instance, if you are a Management Professional and are going to write your resume, the idea of writing your experience will naturally come to you like “Equipped with excellent communication skills” or “Excellent leadership skills” etc. But, I would emphasize that this is very imprecise. This actually doesn’t give a picture of you at all. Rather, the Recruitment experts highlight the need to provide evidence of your achievements. Such as, “Introduced growth hacking strategies and increased the web traffic by 50% without expanding the annual budget. Meaning you need to avoid using buzzwords like just 'communication skills' rather, you need to include buzzwords like 'introduced, coordinated, guided, etc.) These can also be called as 'action verbs'. Action verbs actually give a more precise meaning to your wording. And if you are interested in knowing what action verbs you can use on your resume, you can go through the separate article we have written on '200+ resume action verbs'.
Below are such resume buzzwords and clichés you should avoid using
Resume buzzwords you should first avoid on resumes and LinkedIn
1. A fast-learner
It is fair that you use these resume buzzwords or cliché in order to show that you are lacking a certain skill in a certain area and how you would enhance that skill or learn it effectively and quickly if the job was offered to you. However, if you want to mention this natural ability, you need to be tactful enough to position it.
Tip: Mention or describe the time frame that you grasped your new skill quickly
Eg. Learned SEO techniques with HTML within less than a month
2. Experienced (profession/task)
It has become such a common language formula that people mention “Experienced plus profession or Experienced plus task” in resumes such as “An experienced Marketing Professional” or “Experienced in project management”, or any that follows the same pattern. But unfortunately, this is a very imprecise way to describe your professional experience. This actually does not say anything about the quality of experience you have had. And this writing style does not seem to be something unique to attract the CV reader’s attention among others. Because, almost all have used the same.
Tip: List specifically the performance/achievement/task to highlight your skills and experience
Eg. 1 with buzzwords to include: Prepared monthly and weekly sales reports and reported insights and sales trends to the director
Eg. 2 with positive buzzwords/action verbs: Managed a team of 10 in the Department of sales and boosted YoY sales in 10%
3. Team Player
This is another overused term that most job seekers use in their resumes. When you actually say that you are a good team player, the CV reader or the recruiter doesn’t have a clue on what kind of a person you actually are. Because, this term is often used and gives a vague idea. Here you specifically have to show that you have worked in a team
Tip: Mention or describe the time frame that you grasped your new skill quickly
Tip: Mention or describe the time frame that you grasped your new skill quickly
Eg. 1. Collaborated with the digital marketing team to increase online sales by 30% compared to the year before
Eg. 2.Collaborated with the recovery team to reduce the customer churn rates by 10% compared to the previous year.
4. Communication Skills
Saying that you have excellent communication skills does not prove that you really have it. Because, communication skills are always contextual and their effectiveness depends on the situation and outcome. Therefore, showing your communication skills in the most effective way of writing remains of high importance.
Tip: Use evidence of achievement related to the communication skill
Eg. “sales pitch on the newly launched product won a new multinational client”
The logic behind why you need not use these resume buzzwords or cliché is very clear. If you are a results-oriented individual, you must be able to showcase what results you brought to your previous or current employer. Just saying you are a result-oriented person truly misguides the reader. Not only that, but it also may hint to the recruiter that you are pretending to be one who is results-driven without actually having evidence. This could have terrible consequences such as not shortlisting you for the next phase of the recruitment process.
Tip: Specifically mention the results you have brought to the previous/current employer with specific numbers if possible.
Eg. Planned and executed the marketing strategies to increase online sales in 20% by the end of the 2015
6. Hard working
Hard working does not mean how productive you are. You may work hard, but it’s the outcome or the productivity that matters at the end of the day. Therefore, when the recruiter is looking at your resume/CV he/she will also look at the signs that you can productively manage your time to deliver a good outcome.
Tip: Emphasize your time management and productivity skills
Eg. 1 The management has appreciated me many times for never missing a deadline.
Eg. 2 I have never missed a deadline of a task that has been assigned to me for last two years
The tag self-motivation comes with your own evaluation. That doesn’t particularly convince the recruiter that you really are. Therefore it is not wise to say vaguely that you are self-motivated. Rather, using your previous experience and achievements in a tactful way will bring more positives.
Tip: Mention about your independent work you initiated on behalf of your company or in the project you are working for.
Eg. Introduced the prepaid Cable TV system to the company as a strategy. Collaborated with both IT and technical departments and implemented within six months.
Flexible is another that is on top of the resume buzzwords list. When you say you are flexible, it is highly unlikely that he/she will get the word you say. Because this is not specific. Especially, when you say flexible, you may be flexible in different ways depending on different contexts. Sometimes your being flexible enough may restrict your from going to a better decision. Especially, at a meeting or a group discussion. Or you may not be able to stand firm on an idea and you can also be compelled to change your idea/decision very easily. Therefore, precision and relevancy and its outcome matter a lot
Tip: show that you have actually been flexible by the work you did. And specifically, how you adapted to different changing circumstances.
Eg. I could work with the new line manager and learn the new system very quickly. And could also meet KPIs soon after the company was merged
These are the words that are mistakenly overused on most resumes and LinkedIn.
Short List of Effective Buzzwords to include on your Resumes and LinkedIn
These are just a few of the positive buzzwords to include on a resume/LinkedIn. if you want to explore more, you can simply use our resume keyword finder tool or read the article on resume action verbs.
How to Check Buzzwords on your Resume [Simple & Quick Way]
Buzzwords are sometimes tricky. Meaning that you sometimes struggle to find whether a word is actually a buzzword. Because you fear that others have used a buzzword so often that you cannot avoid using it. For instance, "a fast learner". You do not feel like removing this. do you? I know. But actually you have to remove it and mention how and why do you say you are 'a fast learner' instead, in order to grab the reader's attention.
Also being someone who wants to build a resume cannot be expected to know everything about other stuff like buzzwords and clichés, action verbs and all. Therefore, Cresuma has introduced an online tool called "Resume Buzzword Checker" for this. With this you can simply type in a word and see whether it is a buzzword or you can even upload your resume/cv/cover letter and check if you have used any buzzwords on it.
What are the key features of Resume Buzzword Checker?
Full Resume Buzzword Analysis Report
This will reveal the buzzwords, action verbs and context dependent words you have used on your resume, the percentage of your resume's word effectiveness and the words you need to consider removing and rechecking.
Fix Buzzword Issues with Tips
Based on the analysis you get for your resume/cover letter, you will also get the tips to fix your resume buzzword issues on your resume. These tips will tell you what actions you simply need to take to make your resume more effective and appealing to the hiring managers.
Unlimited Resume/Cover Letter Uploads
With Cresuma's Buzzword Checker you will get the chance to upload and generate buzzword reports unlimited times. So that you could modify and check your resume again and again to make it perfect.
Access to Previously Generated Reports
With this feature you may check the previously generated reports anytime.
Once you uploaded your resume, or typed in your word to check, the tool gives you a complete report showing if you have used any buzzwords, positive or resume action verbs. So that you could avoid any buzzword and send your resume to the recruiter confidently.
Check the Cresuma Resume Buzzword Checker to explore more features and get the full report.
Resume Buzzwords Engineering (Verbs)
Engineers often forget to highlight their expertise with the action verbs on their resumes. Rather, they tend to use following buzzwords. Therefore, if you are writing a resume for an engineering related position, pay extra attention to this and try to use the action verbs or resume keywords. Below are some of such engineering resume buzzwords and actions verbs.
32. Oversaw a project
Using "oversaw" does not specifically say what you did in that role and how you were involved in the projection. This actually hints the reader think that you have not been actively participating in the project. Instead, you may consider using action verbs or better resume buzzwords like "assigned' "delegated" "Monitored" etc.
33. Worked with/in
Saying that worked in a project does not say what you actually did there. It is so vague that the recruiter may not even have a picture of your role. Here, it is wise to use verbs like designed, developed, manufactured, established and so on.
34. Familiar with Electronic Equipment / Machinery
This is just another way that most put on their resumes. It is natural that you tend to think that mentioning your field and the profile/summary on top of the resume will be enough for the recruiter to understand which machinery or equipment you are familiar with. But mind you, the recruiter is not supposed to know it. It is your job to specifically state your experience to the recruiter. On the other hand, your saying that you are familiar does not display your capability to do that. Therefore, it is wise to use an action verb like "operated".
Below are a list of 30 Engineering Buzzwords (technical) for your further knowledge.
35. 3D Modeling
36. Detailed Models
37. Electrical Analysis
38. Fluid Mechanics
39. Integrated Systems
40. Process Sheets
42. Product Development
46. Test Processes
47. Professional Consulting
48. Process Improvements
49. Process and Procedure Development
50. Structural Design
51. Networked Systems
52. Structural Design
53. Technical Support
54. System Maintenance
56. Problem-Solving Skills
57. Process Improvements
58. Process Development
59. Machinery Maintenance
60. Internal Controls
61. Computer Programming
63. Digital Electronics
64. Manufacturing Problem Resolution
Marketing/Sales Resume Buzzwords
The most common mistake on sales resumes is that they use broad words that are not specific and often overused like in other sectors. Here are the most used sales resume buzzwords.
65. Strong Communicator
This is a highly sought-after skill, especially in sales. Yet this has become the most overused buzzword as well. People who are into sales often focus on mentioning this buzzword rather than showing it practically on their resumes. Use your resume and cover letter to show that you are a great communicator in writing.
No doubt you have to be a passionate person if you are into sales. But it is more important to show it. Therefore, use your past records, achievements and stats to show how passionate you are as they reflect it by performance.
Anyone can say that they are leaders. but it is your actions and behavior that says it louder. Therefore instead of using this sales resume buzzword, show how you took initiative and led some situations.
Below is a list of 20 sales resume buzzwords and clichés for your further knowledge.
72. Managed sales team
73. Prepared reports
74. lead team
76. highly motivated
78. works well in a team
81. outgoing personality
83. team player
84. people person
85. detail oriented
Project Management Resume Buzzwords
Your resume is not a place for vague language. When you say you are responsible you do not say specifically the role you played. Rather, the better buzzwords to show it like you "managed" or "directed" while highlighting your contribution to the particular project. Additionally, try to show the recruiter of your achievements using numbers.
This is another resume buzzword that has been overused by most professionals. Especially the project managers. Actually, the recruiters do not appreciate this "synergy" as it is too vague. Therefore, you better include better buzzwords in your project management resume such as "collaborated" and "coordinated".
90. Attention to detail
Saying "attention to detail" doesn't give a clear picture. At least how it is related to the job role you played. Therefore, be specific to show that you are detail-oriented or you have very good attention to detail. Simply prove it. A better way, to say this is, using some phrases like you "analyzed data to check errors and inaccuracies" "analyzed data to evaluate and forecast"
Considering these changes and utilizing the resume space with the right keywording will enhance the chance of your Resume being picked by the ATS system. Further, there is a high chance that the recruiter may become interested in your CV/resume and, pick it as it has a massive convincing language and presentation. Therefore, it is advisable to know how to write a perfect resume before you start writing your resume/CV. However, we also advise you to consider the best resume colors and the best resume fonts as you start the rest. Because it will also help you increase the chance of being picked even further.
People who read this article also read, Must-Have Skills to put on your Resume 2023
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