I still remember my shock at seeing clichés similar to “I can work on my own initiative as well as part of a team’ in 19 out of 20 applications I’ve received for the first role I was recruiting for when I started my recruitment career 10 years ago.

Even now, I often receive resumes with phrases such as ‘Self-motivated team player’; “responsible” or “innovative”. If your resume if full of these mundane and boring phrases (with no examples to back them up with!) it is going to be difficult for you to stand out or for recruiters to really see your value proposition.

It is not that certain ‘power words’ can’t be used on your resume. But you want to use them effectively so that you don’t sound like everyone else.

The problem is these words are very subjective. Anyone can say they are efficient or well organized or that they have great leadership skills. NOTHING about that makes you stand out from the competition unless you show some examples.

Here are some tips on how to improve your resume/LinkedIn profile:

Use evidence and concrete examples to back up your statements.

Let’s suppose you’re an internal auditor who’s implemented new payroll and tax accounting systems that saved your company $200k in staff costs over the next 3 years. It is a result driven example that demonstrates you being innovative or good at problem solving.

Perhaps you’re an admin assistant and you’ve managed switchboard with 8 incoming lines, routing an average of 300 calls per day. You immediately sound more impressive than a candidate who simply says they have great organizational skills.

I see lots of resumes of people who are ‘results-driven’. Says who? I’d suggest adding some information that actually PROVES your drive for results. In which ways has your performance outpaced that of your peers? Perhaps you’ve earned 3 promotions in 18 months. If so, put that information on your resume.


Use numbers.

Numbers are great for demonstrating your skills and expertise. Did you increase revenue, saved time or money? How many events did you organize? How many clients did you deal with every month?

Another clichéd quote I see on resumes is ‘proven success’ or ‘proven track record’. Again, unless you prove it, I wouldn’t bother with such phrases. If you’ve exceeded quota every year for the past 3 years or finished all projects under budget, then mention that.

These tangible achievements will help a hiring person understand the scope of your work and the reasons behind your career progression.

To summarize, remove all redundant phrases from your resume and LinkedIn profile. Provide specific details of your achievements and watch your interview invites go up!

To find out how to get more interviews in a competitive job market (Video 3), as well as how to find out about unadvertised jobs (Video 1) and how to use LinkedIn effectively as a career management tool (Video 2), sign up for my free 3-day video course ‘Smart strategies to help you get interviews’: http://bit.ly/1ymfRem





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