9 More Resume Buzzwords You Should Cut

Earlier this month, we offered up nine buzzwords that you should eliminate posthaste from your resume. But that was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg: The list of clichés, redundant terms, and outmoded verbs ripe for deletion is, of course, much longer. Here are nine more terms that deserve the attention of your ‘Delete’ button:

Enthusiastic: The ultimate in redundant phrases: Who isn’t enthusiastic (at least in public) about their work and career?

Assisted: You only have a limited amount of space on a resume to list your experience. Rather than waste ink describing when you helped someone else out with a project, focus on those times you played a central role.

Expert (or Master): Describe yourself as an “expert” (or “master”) in a particular skill or discipline, and interviewers may see that as an opportunity to trip you up with an obscure question or difficult problem. When outlining your skills, go with terms such as “proficient,” which also suggest mastery, but aren’t as likely to trigger an aggressive line of questioning.

Ninja: For a couple years, it seemed as if every company had a social-media or Web developer “ninja” onboard, ready to slice and dice even the toughest development and marketing problems to shreds. The term was cute for a little while, but now it’s a cliché. Eliminate it from your resume.

Hard Worker: This should go without saying.

Reliable: This should go without saying, too.

Disruptive: For decades, the term “disruptive” was disparaging, bordering on the slanderous; nobody wanted to be seen as a disruptive influence. Then it took on a positive sheen, especially within the tech industry, where people started using it to denote someone or something that shakes up old, stodgy markets. Now, like “ninja,” it’s become a bit of a cliché: Don’t use it to describe your experience or skill set.

Team Player: Instead of saying you’re a “team player,” use one (or more) of your bullet-points to describe how you’ve collaborated with a team to accomplish a goal.

Old Skills: Does your resume still have outdated skills and knowledge on it? Eliminate them. Trust us, your employer doesn’t care if you’re proficient in Windows 7.

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9 Responses to “9 More Resume Buzzwords You Should Cut”

  1. Fred Bosick

    Maybe one lists old skills as they are more closely related to the requirements of the job at hand. Besides, if one has documented experience in an old skill, they can learn a new one. Look past the buzzwords and glitz of the latest tech and you find that it’s not all that different from older technology. For instance, Cloud, my favorite technology to bash. It’s hardly different from what service bureaus offered in the 60s and 70s. Schlep your card decks and magtape to a central facility and pick up the output a week later as card decks, magtape, and tractorfeed fanfold stacks of white and green paper.. Now it’s through the Internet. Same deal though. Exact same deal. The difference now is that the facilities are staffed by indentured IT servants, vastly increasing the chances of a deliberate data breach.

    • James Green

      @Fred you are absolutely correct what’s old is new again, the problem is not the IT talent, but the current recruiter talent and their lack of knowledge in technology. Also their industries heavy reliance on resume selecting software has turned turned them into clerks instead of the professionals they use be a just a few years ago.

    • Shawk Parson

      good points, couldn’t agree more!
      made my own similar comment too … 🙂
      and i said it in that comment: ” i know this kind of article is trying to be helpful and ‘positive’ and it is so indeed, but it is also stuck in its own kind of cliche, unfortunately! the ‘new’ words we are to replace the old ones with, will soon become cliche themselves!” 😉

  2. Just remeber some buzz words are needed to get through the HR tech reader. Tough call but if the program is not updated you could loose a possible opportunity for a company due to outdated software. Tough call but I do agree some buzz words are outdated and should be removed to save space for other bullets wherever possible. BTW, as for expert… I think is is more diffcult to qualify, there is always someone better and smarter at what we do.

  3. I couldn’t disagree more with 70 % of the article. My most recent gigs were still about migrating off XP to 7 in the last 6 months. Also as noted by others many places are using software to scan your resume that have not been updated. One might be surprised at how many calls I get for stuff that is clearly not on my skills listed in my resume so who knows half the time where the so called professional recruiters are getting the data. I wander when the last time the person that wrote the article was in the job market.

  4. Scruzzer

    In total agreement here, but in order to be relevant to HR, job seekers must sync their resumes to the job description. If HR is asking for a reliable, hard working, enthusiastic, team player who’s a master ninja at Microsoft Word, that’s what they’re going to get in their resume submissions.

    I’d be interested in seeing an article that lists buzzwords employers should leave off their job descriptions as well.

  5. C L Couch

    I’ve read both articles and all the comments posted thus far. This is an exigent discussion to have, since the issues–like the terms–are at work right now on both sides of the job-hunting process.

    So may we now have an article and discussion about the buzzwords, or better words, to employ?


  6. Shawk Parson

    ok, fine, i hate cliche too, but many employers prefer cliche-ed people for hiring!
    how are we to know and find out what type of employer we’re facing before going to an interview?
    their websites may tell a lot about what kind of people own, manage and run businesses but many other delicate points won’t be revealed until you actually attend an interview and especially not until you start working for them for at least a few months … besides, why Windows 7 is considered an old skill? 🙂 there are firms still using Windows XP out there! not to mention those still requiring people with DOS expertise! 😀 i know this kind of article is trying to be helpful and ‘positive’ and it is so indeed, but it is also stuck in its own kind of cliche, unfortunately! the ‘new’ words we are to replace the old ones with, will soon become cliche themselves!