5 Phrases You Should Never Put On Your Resume
By Hannah Hamilton
Monster Contributing Writer
When you’re writing your resume, it’s best to avoid the cliche words that hiring managers and recruiters see over and over again. Even if you feel the terms are accurate, there is usually a livelier, more original way to describe yourself.
Here are five words and phrases you should avoid putting on your resume.
Describing vaguely positive traits in a resume doesn’t prove your worth and may even undermine your value as a candidate in failing to show how you’re different. Focus on concrete skills and accomplishments instead of relying on personal description through adjectives, says David Allocco, a business development and operations executive at PierceGray, Inc.
“I would avoid the term ‘hard worker’ as it’s general and something anyone could apply to themselves,” Allocco says. “Instead, highlight actual accomplishments and results you can show off to potential employers. They like seeing data-driven numbers as opposed to general blanket statements.”
Idioms may add color to an informal conversation, but they don’t distinguish you professionally when used on your resume.
“Avoid overused and tired business idioms: out-of-the-box, win-win, core competencies, empowered, best practices There are many more; these are perfectly acceptable words, but they've been so overused that people are sick of them,” says Karen Southall Watts, author of “Go Coach Yourself.” “Rephrase and think clarity and not jargon. Avoid describing duties and instead focus on results. ‘Supervised a team of 12’ is much less compelling than ‘Led sales team to 5% increase in total closed deals.’”
Avoid mentioning money before you even get to the interview. “Any mention of the word ‘salary’ on a résumé sets off red alarms to an employer and would discourage them from bringing you in for an interview,” warns George Bernocco, a resume writer.
Reference Available Upon Request
This line isn’t necessary.
“Do not put ‘Reference available upon request’, or the names and contact points of the references themselves,” advises Elliot Lasson, executive director of Joblink of Maryland, Inc. “The former is understood, superfluous, and therefore just takes up valuable space. As for the latter, given that companies will often ask for a waiver before contacting references, they should probably be kept in a separate document.”
Your resume isn’t simply a summary of yourself. You are talking about yourself, technically, but through the lens of the company’s needs and expectations.
“We already know your objective,” says Lisa Rokusek, a managing partner at AgentHR Recruiting Group. “Instead of telling us about what you want, use this space to tell us about you and your experience. Make sure it is relevant to the role you are interested in. Make a thought argument for getting a conversation.”
When you are requested by a potential employer to include your salary requirements in your cover letter, be prepared by knowing your worth. Using your knowledge around what salary is commensurate with your skills and experience will give you an edge in writing your cover letter.
However, you may occasionally find during your job search that a potential employer will require you to include your salary requirements in the initial cover letter. Typically, this request is designed to ensure that the employer is only considering candidates whose salary requirements fall within the range they have budgeted for the role.
In this instance, there is no way around it: you must include a salary range in your cover letter. But how do you make a cover letter that mentions your salary needs without eliminating yourself from the position right out of the gate? Read our example cover letter with salary requirements below, to get some ideas on how you can write your own.
And for more about negotiating your salary, check out our article Salary Negotiation Mistakes to Avoid, which explains how to negotiate the best salary possible.
Example Cover Letter with Salary Requirements:
Dear Ms. Kindig,
My varied customer service and training experience, along with my extensive educational background, make me an ideal candidate for the corporate trainer position posted in the Careers section of your website. Much of my previous work experience has been in customer service, and the tools and techniques I have learned from this industry transfer directly to the skills outlines in your job post, including effective written and verbal communication, facilitating group discussions, problem solving, developing rapport, organizing, meeting goals, and managing groups.
My extensive educational background, bachelor’s degree in marketing, and postgraduate work in teaching and counseling will help me add new perspectives and ideas to your department. I know I can be a key player on your training team, and I would like the chance to prove that to you.
Per your request, an acceptable salary range for this job, based on the description and my research, is 50-55K, not including benefits or supplements. My requirement is flexible and negotiable, depending on such factors as additional benefits, the opportunity to earn bonuses, and opportunities for advancement. Thank you for your time and consideration.
For more information related to salary and salary negotiation, check out our article Salary Negotiation and Job Offer Tools and Resources for Jobseekers.
Other Free Sample Letters for Job Seekers Include:
Free Jobseeker Sample Job Search Letters
Free Jobseeker Sample Thank You Letters
Free Jobseeker Sample Letter: Accepting a Job Offer
Free Jobseeker Sample Letter: Declining a Job Offer
More Helpful Cover Letter Resources:
Cover Letter Examples
Cover Letter Builder
How to Write a Cover Letter
Cover Letter Samples