Question of the day:What is the most overused word you see in your candidate resumes?

From today's RBC Daily:

Question of the day: What is the most overused word you see in your candidate resumes?

or perhaps the word you like to see the least?

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That is easy "we". I don't care what your team did I just want to know what YOU did.

Not so much in the resumes, but in phone screens when I ask the question "what are your top 3 strengths that make you successful in (insert title they are applying for)" they almost always answer - I'm a people person, I'm loyal, I work hard - there is no way those 3 traits describe every single person in our workforce!  I feel like screaming "BE ORIGINAL"


"Proven" track record.  really?  prove it.


"Leadership" qualities.  really?  where are they listed?


"Unique" set of skills.  really?  no one else in the world knows how to add using a calculator?


If you're going to use the word back it up.  Otherwise it's just fluff!

"detail oriented"

...although I enjoy the irony of the more unfortunate version "detailed orientated"

Don't use this word unless you're a brisket.

"quick learner" - as opposed to what a slow witted dullard or you learned to tie a cherry stem with your tongue in less than an hour one drunken night?

And the whole flaming list of "action" words that career coaches tell people to use in a resume that they couldn't use in a sentance if they tried.

and don't forget "high energy".  Yikes i thought you might be a meth head or ADD


"worked on"  Yeah, right!  and what exactly did you work on?  Another one "I" or referring to oneself in the third person.  Another one stating "objective" on the resume . . . nobody cares at first glance what you as a candidate want, but what are you bringing to the table that makes us want to hire you. 

Bill . . . your comment "seasoned" made me laugh :) I always tell my candidates never to use that on a resume because it makes you look old and well done . . . as you described "brisket". 

Results-oriented (as opposed to problem/drama-oriented)

Proven track-record (not recruiting for the Olympics 500 meter hurdles)

Seasoned (makes me think of beef jerky)

Over X years experience (BFD & "more than" would be more grammatically correct)

Responsible for (just tell what you "did" not what you were "supposed" to do)

Career objective (don't care what you want to be when you grow up)

Award-winning (what award? Best actor Oscar, CEO of the year, 3rd grade citizen of the month)

Each bullet starting w/ managed, created, produced, directed, over and over and over again as if they only know three verbs. 

Verbing, ie; "credited with efforting the system conversion.". Was it the green chili enchiladas or the beer? Was it succesful effort or did it just stink things up?

Multi-task in any of it's forms. Really!!! You sure walking and chewing gum while thinking about something else really qualifies you?

Great question Tim.

@Bill that one is a classic. Brisket

@Kelly love the jerky.......



From a slow moving sloth that can't do much of anything. (Oh sorry, that's from my resume)

Good one., Ben.  I find that those who "multi-task" are frequently "jack of all trades"

In other words , everything turns out average.

'Works well in a team, or autonomously.'  I once counted this phrase (or a variation thereof) on 32 resumes in a row.

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