Check Your Resume For These Useless Buzz Words

John Krautzel
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Hiring managers have to work their way through hundreds of resumes, and most of the time, these resumes all start to look and sound the same. LinkedIn released its annual list of overused resume buzzwords in the fall of 2017. Is your resume padded with any of the following useless words?


"Experienced" may be the most overused buzzword in resumes. Unless your resume makes it clear that this is your first job ever, your experience is implied. Your work history, skill set and education all speak to your overall experience, so using the term as a way to beef up your resume is redundant and unnecessary. Instead, let your experience speak for itself.


While you should definitely try to sell yourself with your resume, calling yourself an "expert" takes major confidence and courage. If you are actually an expert in a particular skill, express that through the accomplishments you include to emphasize that skill. Otherwise, allow your past and prospective employers to be the judge of your expertise.


"Specialized" is Linkedin's top overused buzzword for 2017. The fact is, nearly every job candidate can claim they specialize in something. Thus, the word "specialized" adds little to no real value to your resume. If you feel you truly are specialized in a certain area or skill, demonstrate that by emphasizing your accomplishments or awards related to that area. The potential employer will pick up on your proficiency without the need for another overused buzzword.


Listing "leadership" as one of your core competencies wastes precious space on your resume. Why? Leadership is best demonstrated than merely stated. Make sure all of your relevant leadership experience reads loud and clear within your previous job accomplishments and career summary.


Want to show your creative side to hiring managers? Find a better word to use than "creative." The fact is, every job candidate is creative to some degree, and while creativity is a great attribute, it's better demonstrated than simply listed. Use concrete examples of ideas you came up with or projects you launched; if you need adjectives, try "visionary," "inspired" or "inventive."


Listing "passionate" as an attribute within your resume negates the very concept of passion. Let your passion come through naturally in the language you use to write your resume and cover letter. Tell stories, give anecdotes, and discuss your proudest accomplishment with excitement and enthusiasm. Use descriptive, compelling language to illustrate your passion.

Does your resume contain any of the aforementioned buzzwords? If so. it may be time to give it a makeover, especially if it isn't getting the results you want. Drop the cliché words and phrases from your resume, and replace them with powerful action-oriented language that expresses your true personality and relevant experience.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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  • Clayton Burkhart
    Clayton Burkhart

    I have all these words. I guess I will have to change them.

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