Resume Cliches: This Is Not Effective|
I am effective at creative organization problem-solving and I’m highly motivated. My track record shows my dynamic communication skills and innovative abilities throughout my extensive experience.
Read the above sentence again. From the description, do you have any idea what I am capable of (other than run-on sentences)? Neither do I. Other than a ton of adjectives that describe, well, anything, I don’t have any idea what I am actually capable of.
I get it, and I’m a victim of it: expressing yourself on paper is really hard. Putting your life’s work onto an 8.5″x 11″ sheet of paper in a way that makes you stick out to future employers and recruiters is quite the challenge. That’s why we cover it frequently. From formatting, to sentence choice, to word choice, there are a lot of things to consider when compiling your resume.
Today’s lesson thanks to the most popular words used on LinkedIn is move away from adjectives and towards verbs. The words compromising the above run-on sentence are now officially “filler words”: they no longer indicate a candidate who can have significant impact on a company’s bottom line.
Remember in 3rd grade when they told you to show, and not tell? Well, that applies on your resume. Show people what you’ve done in your career. Don’t tell them you are have an effective track record – actually share your track record. Don’t tell someone you are dynamic and creative– instead, write about the project you lead that shows your creativity and dynamic-ness (yes, I just made up a word, and no, DO NOT do that on your resume).
I read a lot of resumes: whether helping proofread resumes of friends or reviewing recruits for Levo. There are plenty of forgivable mistakes decent candidates make, but if I have absolutely NO IDEA what someone’s actually done based on their resume, it sufficiently impairs my desire to learn more about them to the point where they go in the ‘throw-away’ pile.
Using broad descriptive words, while somewhat fancy, shares very little about your abilities. How am I supposed to know how well you solve problems by putting down “great problem solver”? How do I know whether the problems you solve include finding ways to reduce cost and not headcount, or if your problems are along the lines of figuring out what to order for lunch for a team of picky eaters? Telling me you are a strong problem solver, and failing to actually enlighten the reader by sharing the problem(s) you solved does little.
You’re “motivated.” Good. What else? How do I see proof that you are motivated, and how do I gauge what motivated means to you? You may think motivated means you came to work every day. Motivated to someone else may mean that they showed up 15 minutes early in order to prove to their boss that they were ready for the day and to accomplish more work. State what your motivation has driven you to accomplish.
Words I like to see
Quantifying words: Increased, decreased, brought together, improved by, connected, expanded, reduced, created, developed, implemented. The list goes on. These words are great because they’re hard to use without following up with a quantity, a program, a restructuring, &c. Let the recruiter or your future employer know what you’ve done and how you’ve done it and what the results are- now go forth and conquer the world.
If you’re in need of resume feedback: email your resume to amanda(at)levoleague.com. Before you do, make sure to read all the Levo League Resume series articles.