But it’s easy to avoid the problem, when you know what kinds of phrases to keep off of your resume. Here are some of the most important things to consider, so your resume’s phrasing doesn’t hurt your hiring chances.
Are You a Self-Motivated, Team Player?
It’s great if you’re self-motivated, because it means you can get things done without being micromanaged. It’s also good if you’re a team player, because you’ll need that skill for most jobs. But don’t put those things on your resume, or at least don’t use that particular resume phrasing. Employers already assume you’re both of those things, and they won’t get you any extra points.
Instead, be more specific. Include something that shows you’re a team player, or that you’re a self-motivated person. You might include the time you managed a work team (and include how many people and how successful it was). Or you might address how you took on a big project without prompting (and how successful that was). Show, don’t tell — and make your resume unique.
Do You Have an Entrepreneurial Spirit?
Being entrepreneurial isn’t a bad thing, but an employer might see it that way. Generally, entrepreneurs are looking out for themselves. They want to pursue their own goals and interests, and many of them work for themselves. If you sound like you’re only interested in focusing on yourself, a potential employer may not consider you a good option for being a team player or building a career with the company.
Resume phrases that are self-focused to the detriment of a traditional working environment should be avoided. Even if you’ve been self-employed or are working on building up a side business, it’s better to focus on the skills you have and the value you can bring to the company, instead of talking about how you’ve managed yourself and built your business (or how you want to in the future).
You Have How Many Years of Experience?
Companies are usually looking for a set number of years of experience, to ensure that candidates have the knowledge and abilities they need to be successful in the role. But beyond that, listing your years of experience can actually hurt you. For example, if you have 30 years of experience, a potential employer can already guess you’re at least in your late 40s in most cases. They may be looking for a younger candidate. Although they can’t legally discriminate, it could still hurt your chances.
It’s better to avoid statements like “X years of experience” unless it’s specifically necessary or relevant to the job. Instead, list data on your accomplishments, or the titles you’ve achieved. You don’t want it to look like you’ve stagnated in your field, and been doing the same exact thing for decades.
How Do I Know What Else to Include So I Don’t Use an Outdated Resume Phrase?
Now that you know what to avoid, take the time to consider your resume phrases and how they’re helping or hurting your cause. If you need to make some adjustments, there’s no better time than the present. If you’re really stuck, consider using a tool like MyPerfectResume or Grammarly to help guide your resume to a better place.