What not to write in your résumé

Show ’em what you’re working with.

“Creative, organizational and effective.” Those aren’t the words used to describe the employee of the year, they’re 2011′s top three overused buzzwords, according to LinkedIn. Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s connection director, recommends removing these from your résumé immediately.
We could provide a list of words to never use on your résumé, but it would be inexact. As soon as one career expert declares a word inadequate, another expert comes along to disagree. But a few rules are steadfast.

Don’t be vague
Steve Langerud, director of professional opportunities at DePauw University, suggests showing rather than telling. “The goal is to be clear, focused and behavioral in your language,” he says. “The reader should be able to see you working in the way you actually worked. Interpret what that work might look like from their past experience.”

Nix the mission statement
“Employers are looking for someone to do what they want — they don’t necessarily care what you want,” says Yahoo! Shine Senior Editor Lylah Alphonse. “Use the extra space to list some of your real accomplishments and activities,” she adds. Just make sure, Alphonse points out, that the accomplishments are relevant to the position for which you’re applying.

Itemize your accomplishments
Words that you do want to use on your résumé are ones that paint a picture of your career achievements. Be specific. “Where possible, quantify results,” says Sarikas. Include the exact percentage of improved sales or productivity level while at your previous job. Give employers something they understand and your résumé won’t get lost in a sea of white papers.

Avoid first person
It’s a difficult challenge, but Lynne Sarikas, director of Northeastern University’s MBA Career Center, believes that you should describe the facts about your work experience, not write a story.
   
“A résumé,” she explains, “is a historical summary of your skills and experience. Never use the word ‘I.’”


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