Resume Phrases to Avoid

Job seekers use common resume phrases which are intended to make their resume rise above the rest. However, these over-used and all too common phrases are having the exact opposite effect for many of them.

Some common phrases are:

  • Team Player
  • Result-Driven
  • Excellent Leadership Skills
  • Great Organizational Skills
  • Works Well with Others
  • Self-Starter
  • Ability to Prioritize

The error in using this wording is that they posses no value or worth when they are used alone. They are not the key phrases that are going to send your resume to the TOP of the “YES” pile. Many of these cliche phrases are basic skills that essentially should be a given for anyone applying for a position. All employees should be a “Team Player” and “Work Well With Others”; phrases listed in your resume should be those requirements that are not a given and set you apart from the average applicant.

If you are going to use these type of phrases, you have to make them relevant and important to those reading your resume. Think of ways these terms have been applied in your career.

Here are some examples:

Attention to Detail

“At ABC Corporation, I detected an error in a financial accounting system which saved the company over $300,000 when the error was corrected.”

Time-Management Skills

“I was consistently recognized by my supervisors for my ability to manage a large volume of projects across multiple product lines without sacrificing quality.”

Strong Customer Service or Sales

“I exceeded my sales quota by 62 percent and maintained the high level of customer service to customers that was expected of me, all while up-selling enterprise-grade products.”

Problem Solver

“I assisted in the seamless installation of a new accounting software program that cut accounting errors by 75% in its first year.”


“I meticulously analyzed various courier services and successfully negotiated better rates with a supplier that reduced costs by 33 percent.”

By just adding a little more detail, these resume phrases become credible statements. The next time you use these types of skill-set descriptions in your resume, make sure you can back up each one with a statement to really make yourself stand out above the rest!

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