When crafting the perfect synopsis of your extensive professional experience so impressive the reader simply cannot fight the urge to give you a job, aka your perfect resume, it is easy to get so wrapped up in all of the things to put ON the resume, and forget those little things you really should leave off. Impact on a specific project? Yes. Favorite color? No. Notable accolades? Sure. Your bus boy job as a 13 year old? Not so much.
We often times think what should be left off of our resumes would be obvious to us. However, there is a sneaky little sabotager who you might overlook but could cost you the job if you put it on your resume, that being the inconspicuous “generic descriptor.” It might seem like a good idea to put “hard worker” on your resume; after all, don’t employers WANT hard workers? But this descriptor is simply to general to make you stand out from the crowd, and actually might give the employer the idea that you simply didn’t put much effort into your resume. Just how canned answers are a no-no in an interviewer, generic descriptions, while they sound nice on paper, simply don’t resonate with real workplace experiences and do very little in terms of speaking to your individual and unique strengths. Genuine and specific descriptors complete with evidence of their impact on an organization or particular project will bode much better for your job outlook.
Below are 7 phrases according to a New Grad Life article that you should leave OFF your resume.
1. “Effective Communicator”
This phrase on resumes doesn’t distinguish you from other job applicants, but that’s exactly what you need to do today to be called in for an interview. Hiring managers assume you can communicate well, so, if you don’t know how — either by e-mail or with your voice — you have about as much chance of getting hired as a tree.
Every job requires a certain level of attention to detail. So, again, this won’t help your resume — or your chance at landing an interview. The best thing to do here — if you know the job you’re applying for calls for this trait in particular — is to be ready to explain in an interview how your high level of attention to detail resulted in a key accomplishment in your current or previous job.
3. “Highly Skilled”
This is a nothing phrase. You have skills, and you can use some or all of those skills in some kind of job that calls for them. The only way you don’t have skills is if you’ve been doing — here it comes — nothing. Do you believe you have more skills than the average applicant? Show, don’t tell.
You’d better be if you get the job. Again, this is a trait that can go without saying on your resume. It just doesn’t distinguish you from the others who may want the same job.
5. “References Available Upon Request”
This was regular practice in the world of resumes that has become passé. Always assume that an employer will want to check references, or at least conduct a Web search on you and what you’ve accomplished. So, don’t state this on your resume, but do make sure you have the names and contact information of pre-screened potential references if you’re called in to interview. And keep those people in the know on your possible job change so they won’t be surprised should the hiring manager call them.
6. “Energetic Team Player'”
As opposed to what? A “Lethargic Loner”? Just about every organization wants someone who has the energy to do a job and can work effectively with others, and if they don’t get that vibe from you, those empty words on a resume won’t convince them.
7. “Able to Meet Deadlines”
Here’s a question to ask yourself: If you were to meet just one of every 10 deadlines, how long would you last in your job? Once again, this is an obvious trait that merely says you can do the bare minimum.