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A resume should stand out. It is the first chance for you to prove that you are qualified for the job. What most applicants don’t understand, however, is that filling a resume with buzzwords does not make you sound any more qualified. In might, in fact, hurt your chances of getting the job.

It might be easy to lean on these overused business-speak cliches and keywords, but beware: they can sometimes convey the opposite of what you are going for. As a hiring manager, it’s just as important to be aware that a resume might not be speaking as clearly as it can and should be.

Saying the you “think outside of the box” can come off as sounding like you just don’t follow directions. It might sound good in your ears, but a hiring manager wants concrete results that came from your radical “outside of the box” thinking.

Other keywords to avoid are:

  • Strong organizational skills
  • Detail-oriented
  • A perfect fit for your team
  • Synergy
  • Jack of all trades
  • Willing to put in extra work
  • Team player
  • Thought leadership
  • Self-motivated

Each carries an underlying alternative that can be off-putting to a potential employee. And as a hiring manager, these are the words that you should focus on if you decide to bring someone in for an interview.

Find out just what makes them a “perfect fit” or how they’ve helped achieve “synergy”. Otherwise, these buzzwords are nothing but meaningless terms used to embellish a resume. EBI helped put together a handy infographic to help you determine what their resume is really saying.

How to Decode A Resume (Infographic)


Written By
Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor in Chief, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.

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