Buzzwords make your resume blend in rather than stand out. They are tired and overused and make potential employers cringe. Worst of all, they don't say anything.

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“Goal-oriented.” “Innovative.” “Self-starter.” “Dynamic.”

Are your eyes glazing over? Of course they are. Resume buzzwords are a turn-off for you as well as for potential employers.

Buzzwords make your resume blend in rather than stand out. They are tired and overused and make potential employers cringe. Worst of all, they don’t say anything.

Every resume buzzword is not only a cliche, it’s a lost opportunity. Why? They take up valuable space. Employers are not looking for vague terms like “go-to person” or “results-oriented professional” or “accustomed to fast-paced environments.” No, they want descriptions of specific skills, experience, qualifications, duties and certifications.
Sounds reasonable because it is reasonable.

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So instead of saying you have a “proven track record,” why not list your successes? Instead of “strong work ethic,” you could point out, for example, that you never missed a deadline. Instead of “proven track record of success,” mention your awards and promotions. Instead of saying “extensive experience,” give the number of years you’ve done something. You get the picture. Wherever you can, give concrete, specific examples of your unique accomplishments and experiences.

Here are some more examples of resume buzzwords to avoid like the plague:

Team player
Detail-oriented
Experienced
Excellent communication skills
Leadership skills
Organizational skills
Bottom-line oriented
Works well with customers
Strong negotiation skills
People person
Entrepreneurial
Proven ability
Top-flight
Skilled problem solver
Cutting edge
Road warrior
Works well with all levels of staff
Exceeded expectations
Savvy business professional
Strong presentation skills
Looking for a challenging opportunity
Cutting-edge
Multitasker
Proactive
Seasoned professional
Perfectionist
Highly skilled
Creative
Effective
Motivated
Best-in-class
Strategic thinker
Trustworthy
Flexible
Works well under pressure

Are you still reading? Here’s another phrase to delete from your resume: “References furnished upon request.” Nowadays, it goes without saying!

Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at wg@karenburnsworkinggirl.com.