Words to Avoid on the Resume & Job Interview
One moment things are looking good, but that can quickly change with a bad choice of words on the resume or at the job interview. Your choice of words, both written and spoken, can impact your job search results.
The goal of your resume is to help inform employers about who you are as a professional, what you have accomplished, and what you can accomplish when you are on the job. The first step to securing a job interview is having a successful resume.
So, let us start with what you should avoid on the resume. Then, weâll discuss what you should avoid during the interview.
What to Avoid on the Resume
Your resume has limited space, so use your choice of words wisely. Create impact and leave hiring managers with an understanding of what value you have to offer.
- Donât use blank descriptors
Words like âteam-oriented,â âcreativeâ and âhardworkingâ may be what you are, but on the resume, it needs to show that how you carry those characteristics on the job. Display actions youâve taken to exemplify that youâre a team player, a mastermind of ideas, or someone whoâs dedicated and reliable.
- Cut out the pronouns
The resume is taken as a self-written document. Remove any mention of pronouns like, âI,â âme,â âhe,â âsheâ or âthey.â Start your sentences or bullet points with an action word and follow it up with the results gained.
- Avoid backtrack words
There are words that can set you back immediately. Watch out for:
- âUnemployedâ – Your dates of employment will speak to your periods of unemployment, but thatâs not something you need to publicize directly on the resume with the word âunemployed.â Accentuate the positive.
- âStay-at-home parentâ – Unless being a âstay-at-home parentâ pertains to the job, there is no need to promote this or any other personal information that may throw you off-track. Itâs more important to relay information of how you qualify for the job.
- âResponsible forâ â We see many job seekers who like to start their bullets points this way. Remember that hiring managers already have a good understanding about the general roles and responsibilities of the position you held based on your job title. What they want to know is what youâve done and how good you are at the job. Lead with action and results in your writing.
- Take out skills that are a given
A job seeker with the right technical skills and knowledge for the job will appeal to employers, but that doesnât mean you should include Microsoft Office. Knowing how to use Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are expected. Stick to specialized skills and technical knowledge relevant and critical to the job. Find opportunities to relay how youâve used such skills to bring results on the job. That says more to hiring managers than a plain list of skills.
- Donât talk about your needs
In earlier days, resumes would have an objective statement that often starts with: Seeking a positionâ¦. Those days are gone. Todayâs resumes need to start with an Executive Summary that clearly defines who you are as a professional and what you bring to the table. Focus upon the needs of the employer.
What to Avoid at the Interview
The interview is your opportunity to expand on points provided on the resume. Itâs to reinforce and solidify how youâre relevant and qualified for the job. Using the right choice of words ensures you come across as a candidate right for hire.
- Use appropriate pronouns
On the resume pronouns are irrelevant and should be removed, but at the job interview itâs important that the right pronouns are used when you refer to current or past employers and work. Using âweâ and âusâ shows your connection with the experience and results gained, whereas âtheyâ or âthemâ can separate you from it.
- âI donât know.â
The fact that you applied to the job and youâre going through the interview means you should have done your research. If asked: âWhat do you know about the company?â or âWhy do you want to work for us?â â be prepared to answer. When you express to the employer that you havenât given much thought or that you donât know the answer to basic questions, it implies youâre not a serious candidate. Do your research ahead of time. When it is your turn to start asking questions, ask thoughtful ones that reflects you know the business. For more tips, read: âHow Not to Answer Some of the Most Common Job Interview Questions.â
- Insulting or deriding former employers
The job interview is not the place to badmouth your previous employer, boss, or colleagues. Keep communication professional at the job interview and focus on positive discussion points that support your case of being relevant and qualified for the job.
- Whatâs in it for me?
While all job seekers are curious to know details about pay, benefits, and other advantages of being an employee, there will be a time thatâs right for that â itâs when you have the job offer! Right now, your focus needs to be on the key points that will help solidify your running for the job.
Keep check of your word choices on the resume and at the job interview! It only takes one bad choice to turn an opportunity into a loss.
About Jobs has certified professional resume writers working one-on-one with clients to produce attention-grabbing resumes for job search success.Â We also offer career services to help job seekers through the interviewing process. Review our packages and other services at GotTheJob.com, or visit us on LinkedIn and Facebook.