Buzzwords to Avoid on Your Resume

Posted April 24, 2013

You believe that your work history speaks for itself, but when you are trying to catch the eye of a company, your resume will do all of the talking. Are you certain that it’s saying what you want it to say?

You don’t want your resume to blend in with the rest. Buzzwords do not generate a buzz. They are tired clichés that turn your resume into a blank page in the eyes of a hiring manager.

According to, the ten most over-used buzzwords on LinkedIn in 2012 were: creative, organizational, effective, motivated, extensive experience, track record, innovative, responsible, analytical, and problem solving. These same buzzwords appear on cover letters and resumes daily.

Here are some additional buzzwords to avoid while filling out your resume:

Track Record- Results speak louder than words. If you have a proven track record in Sales, quantify those results by saying, “I consistently surpassed Sales goals by 10%”. Carl Lewis had a good track record. Carl Lewis won 9 Olympic Gold Medals. Which sentence stands out more?

Team Player- Your resume will be in a stack with hundreds of ‘Team Players’. If there is a specific project you played a major role in finishing or examples of volunteer opportunities you’ve taken, those will tell a company or staffing service that you are worthy of their team.

Flexible- Saying that you are flexible is basically informing an employer that you’re willing to exist as a functioning member of society. An employer will not be impressed that you’re ok with getting up in the morning and staying late when your position calls for it.

Problem Solving- Think of a problem with the day-to-day operations of a company that you recognized and took measures to fix. Tell an employer that you will make their company more profitable through efficiency. Nothing speaks louder to a company than profits.

Motivated- A hiring manager will know you are motivated because he or she is holding your resume.

Creative- If you want to best demonstrate your creativity to an employer, you should select a word other than ‘creative’. Don’t be afraid to pull out a thesaurus to help fill out your work history, although you should be careful when using a word you wouldn’t normally use in conversation. It’s better to keep things simple than to use a word out of context. You want your resume to stand out. A rusted out AMC Gremlin is going to stand out at a stop light, but it won’t stand out because everyone wants it.

Have knowledge of- Having knowledge of a skill set or software program is an entirely different thing than having experience. If you’re not experienced, you are better off not pointing that out to a potential employer. Accentuate your skills, not your shortcomings.


What are some ways to avoid buzzwords on your resume, while still being effective?

  • When looking up various job descriptions, look at the keywords and skills that the employers and recruiters are listing. Make sure to take note of the verbiage and language used in the job descriptions. Tailor your resume to target the language used by the potential employer.
  • When applicable, include statistics and figures in your resume. Results can help a recruiter understand your project background and success.

If you would like more help on developing a job search strategy, contact the staffing experts at Ambassador Personnel today. Our experienced staff can help you develop a strategy that will advance your career.