When you're changing careers, one of the first challenges you'll face is rewriting your resume in order to target it to the field you hope to enter. It's not enough just to list your past work experience and educational history, you'll need to show how those skills can apply to the new career path.
Every resume is different and believe it or not, an employer can tell a lot about an applicant's personality and work style just by reading over it. Some people go to great lengths to market themselves, which shows a talent of sales and leadership while others stick with a more traditional, chronological approach to their resume, which often indicates an older, more experienced worker who hasn't been looking for a job in a long time. There are people who lie and exaggerate and others who don't give much information about their past accomplishments or provide any reason why someone should hire them. However, by far, the most common thing that employers see on applicant resumes is the same old, tired, cliched phrases. When they see one or more of these, they aren't impressed in the slightest. You can stand out for being too pushy, for being great at marketing, even for just sticking to old fashioned methods but the absolute worst thing you can do is just be boring and have your resume ignored.
Here are 3 of the most overused phrases. If your resume has any of these, it's time for a re-do.
Team leader or coordinator – Many people use the phrase “team leader” or “project coordinator” as their previous job title or they say that they have worked in these positions at various times. The problem with it is that it isn't very specific. Some companies use the term to apply to their mid-level managers, while other times it could mean that someone was the main person on the team, responsible for giving and receiving updates from team members. If you want to show that you managed employees and had the ability to hire, fire or discipline them, then you should say manager or supervisor. It's important to clear up any ambiguity so that the person reading your resume gets a clear picture of what your responsibilities were.
Effective communicator – I've seen many resumes that use this phrase, but the meaning just isn't clear. I know what communication is, but communicating effectively is something that everyone should do and furthermore, using this phrase doesn't effectively communicate anything. It could imply that you have excellent writing skills, are good with verbal communication or that you just like to talk. If you are using this phrase, consider what it is that you are actually trying to convey and then use your great communication skills to make it more clear to the reader.
Proactively – Doing something proactively just means that you did it before you were told to – which is good. However, taking the initiative and doing your job aren't necessarily skills that you should brag about. Most hiring managers are going to assume that you do your job, so you don't need to brag about doing what you were supposed to do. Instead, highlight the challenges you faced and your accomplishments at your job rather than just the fact that you did it without your boss telling you every day.
A large part of getting your first job in a new career field is marketing yourself effectively. Since you don't have actual job experience in the industry and you may not have all of the desired qualifications, you'll have to work extra hard to make your case and demonstrate why you are worth taking a chance on.
What other phrases do you think are overused on resumes? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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