The 10 resume words that employers hate the most

If you aren’t landing any interviews for your job applications, it could be that your resume is failing to stand out from a pile of similar applications. It turns out that many candidates are (over)using the exact same wording in their resumes, and this tends to annoy hiring managers.

The team over at surveyed 562 hiring managers across industries to reveal the commonly used resume words that they dislike the most.

More than three-quarters of participants (76 per cent) agree that they hate the word ‘best’ in resumes. Candidates who describe themselves as ‘the best’ at something come across as vain and arrogant.

The top 10 most hated resume buzzwords

    Best – Turns off 76 per cent of employers
    Motivated – 71 per cent
    Dedicated – 69 per cent
    Proven – 65 per cent
    Reliable – 62 per cent
    Passionate – 57 per cent
    Excellent – 54 per cent
    Enthusiastic – 50 per cent
    Great – 48 per cent
    Hard-working – 43 per cent

Many of the other overused words fall into the category of telling over showing. Rather than saying you are ‘great’ at something, list the results that your great talent produced. Instead of calling yourself ‘hard working,’ detail the accomplishments that your hard work was able to achieve.

Employers read a great many resumes where candidates describe themselves in glowing terms. However, this is mostly meaningless since even the most untalented, lazy, slacker would still describe themselves as motivated and hard working when applying for a job.

So, it is not how you describe yourself in your resume that will allow you to stand out from the crowd. It’s how your resume demonstrates your meaningful accomplishments and career progression.

“In a turbulent job market, candidates need to do everything possible to make themselves unique,” says Menno Olsthoorn of who were behind the survey. “To do so, they need to break away from the exhausted buzzwords that tend to overwhelm their resume as well as those of competing applicants.”

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