Resume Writing Tips: Buzzwords to Remove from a Resume and Why

February 28, 20234:58 pm6668 views

Resumes full of overused buzzwords look tacky in recruiters’ eyes. Find out what kind of words you must not include on your resume!

In composing your resume, sometimes it’s difficult to resist bluffing with buzzwords to look smart. However, it only does the opposite. Linda Shaffer, chief people and operations officer at Checkr, told The Balance that hiring managers tend to see a lot of buzzwords, and there are some that she’d rather not see on resumes. Those are ‘hard worker’, ‘team player’, and ‘result-oriented’.

Lindsay Mustain, an ex-Amazon recruiter, told CNBC Make It that the typical recruiter spends just six seconds on each resume in the early stages of a hiring process. It’s wasteful if you just stuff your resume with incorrect and overused words. This article will give you some examples of overused buzzwords to avoid.

Words to Avoid on Your Resume

Using cliches and buzzwords makes your resume less interesting to the hiring manager. It shows that your CV fails to explain your skills in a concise and effective manner. Read along and find out what kind of words you should leave out on your resume.

Passionate, Hard worker

These words don’t add value to your resume, according to MUO. It’s because your employer expects this kind of positive mindset from all of the candidates, so writing them down doesn’t really change anything. A better way to show your enthusiasm is by explaining your interests. Describe your hobbies and passion projects to recruiters, so they can figure out whether you’re a good fit for the company’s culture..

Fast Learner

Usually, this word is used to make up for the lack of skills required in the job listing. You are willing and able to learn the skill in a short amount of time. Yet, stating that you are a fast learner does not guarantee that you will be able to do it. Instead, try to describe the time when you picked up a new skill effectively.

Communication Skills

If you merely write the word ‘communication skills’ on your resume, it’s possible that your CV won’t be included on the shortlist. Cresuma stated that communication skills are always contextual. Its effectiveness depends on the situation you are in. Show your communication skills through a concise CV and perhaps list your achievements related to your communication skills.

Responsible for-, Worked on-, Assisted, Helped with-

Words like these are weak and do not get to the point. Moreover, the word ‘assisted’ implies that you only follow orders and don’t actively contribute. LiveCareer suggests that a resume should be accomplishment-oriented, not responsibility-driven. Instead of writing ‘responsible for payroll project’ try to change it to ‘implemented a new payroll system’.


Flexible is an ambiguous word. It can mean you are able to handle changes, but it can also mean you are easily able to change your mind. To effectively show your flexibility, highlight how you can handle multiple tasks at once, Resume Worded suggests. You can also emphasize how you deal with role changes and timelines and don’t forget to mention the positive outcome as well.

Successful, Proficient with-

Similar to ‘flexible’, success can be interpreted in many ways. Get straight to the point by mentioning what you did at your previous job. Use words like ‘attended’, ‘improved’, ‘executed’, or ‘planned’. Prove that your contribution actually drives your company’s sales up, for example.

How to Write a Resume Efficiently

As can be seen from the discussion above, it’s better to avoid vague and ambiguous words. Instead, state explicitly what you have accomplished in the past. Use strong action verbs to describe your previous tasks. Consider the following:

  • Collaborate
  • Conceptualise
  • Negotiate
  • Delegate
  • Navigate
  • Advocate
  • Persuade

Another tip is to use keywords from the job ads itself. It makes your CV more relevant because it matches the requirements. Usually, recruiters use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to sort out incoming resumes. The keywords in the job ads will help you get through the ATS and land an interview.

Final Thoughts

“Building a professional brand is critical to success in the workplace,” said Feon Ang, Director of Talent Solutions for LinkedIn SEA, Japan, and Korea. “Competition for the same opportunities can be tough, and you want to avoid sounding like everyone else. One way to show how you’re different is by not only talking the talk but walking the walk.” Building your resume is the same. Ensure your achievements showcase your qualifications rather than filling them with unnecessary buzzwords.

Next Read: Human Resources Skills for Resumes & Cover Letter

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