As we begin to enjoy our winter break, we start to find that we might have more time on our hands than we know what to do with. Sure, this is your time to relax and do nothing for some of the days, but it’s also a good idea to use some of your time away from school to get some work done. Like composing a resume.
A great place to start would be tidying up your resume for next semester. Maybe you want to get it ready for an internship, a new job, get it ready for graduation, you name it!
Now, “tidying” seems like such a broad term, so where should you start? Well, once you have all the content that you want on there, it’s time to go through the editing process. You want to make every word count, and exchange some words that employers just don’t want to see on there.
Let’s look at some examples so you’ll be able to avoid these wordy mistakes and, as a result, make your resume the best that it can be.
Think about it: hiring managers have to look at hundreds of resumes, so they will start to see patterns of common things that potential employees like to put on their resumes to supposedly “stand out.”
The problem is, if you are using clichéd job terms like “I’m a hard worker,” you are putting down what hundreds of other people are, and by doing so, aren’t standing out.
Instead of putting the words “I’m a hard worker,” show this! It’s the same thing that we writers are told again and again — you need to show, not tell.
“Anyone can say they are ‘best of breed,’ a ‘go-getter,’ a ‘hard worker,’ or a ‘strategic thinker,” making these terms unoriginal, and ultimately, hindering you more than they will help you.
Lorenz continues, “Employers want to know what makes the job seekers unique, and how they will add value to the specific organization for which they’re applying.”
This again is alluding to the fact that you need to demonstrate your worth when composing a resume, not just write a clichéd sentence about it.
My partner was taking an online career class, and they discussed how when you composing a resume, you should always use active verbs when describing yourself and your experiences. I’d never really thought about it before, but it makes a lot of sense. It gets to the point of what you have accomplished, and doesn’t cloud your resume or confuse the hiring manager about what your previous positions actually entailed.
Alyssa Gelbard, founder and president of Résumé Strategists, says that superfluous words like “responsible for,” “oversight of,” and “duties included,” unnecessarily complicate and hide your experience. To avoid this, she too suggests the use of active verbs.
Ex: Replace: “Responsible for training interns” with “Train interns.”
This will save room on your resume, so you can pack everything in, and will show hiring managers exactly what you want to show them.
Business Insider and Forbes both agree that this cliché has got to go. Obviously you need to be a team player, or you won’t get the job, but you need to show your team playing ability, not just type those words and call it good.
An article in Forbes, by Nick DeSantis, suggests the following.
“If your intention is to communicate how well you work with others, giving examples of your roles within collaborative projects will be far more impressionable on a resume.”
Again, showing, and not telling, will help you land the job and look more impressive.
Everyone likes to put that they are self-motivated on their resume (guilty as charged), but what weight does that hold? In order to receive a job, this quality should be a guarantee, not a resume booster. What I’m saying is, you want to use the space on your resume to highlight your initiative and work ethic, rather than just saying you are self-motivated. It won’t help you stand out and it is not specific enough or defining in any way. The more you know, right?
The Forbes article also recommends taking the word “proactive” out of your resume. Being proactive is great, but highlighting it to your potential employer doesn’t do all that much because, like being “self- motivated,” this should be a no brainer, and will be a quality that everyone who lands a job will have, thus making it pointless to attach on your resume.
These are just a few examples on what to avoid when composing a resume, and especially when you are polishing it. Bottom line, you need to be specific, give examples, be unique, and think like a hiring manager to avoid clichés. Good luck!
All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.