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How to Replace the 5 Worst Words Used in Resumes


Straight from an HR professionals mouth, don’t be cheesy when it comes to your resume.


One way to build a quality resume is to make it stand out by using action examples versus cheesy, over-used generics.


We all know that including anything incriminating and untrue on your resume isn’t going to get you very far in the interview process. The internet is stocked with pages and pages of “the best interview words to describe yourself” that are supposed to help you nail that job, but are they really helping?


They will undoubtedly describe you, but what you want on your resume are keywords that describe your work and your work ethic. Don’t take it personally, but the interviewer could care less that you are spontaneous and outgoing.


Here is a list of the 5 worst self-describing words you probably already have on your resume and what to use instead.


Don’t use: Go-Getter

Instead use: Achieved

“Go-getter” just looks unprofessional. It’s layman’s term for taking initiative and if that’s the word you intend to use, please do. Instead though, try “achieved”, this word can be used to describe yourself, but also is a good segue into everything that you have done throughout your career.


Don’t use: Hard Worker

Instead use: Resolved

Every. Single. Person. has used “hard worker” to describe themselves. Please stop. And tell me why you are more hard working than the other applicants. Using resolved will show the interviewer what makes you more accomplished as compared to the other guys (or gals).


Don’t use: Go-To Person

Instead use: Influenced

Whether you were a manager, point-person, or just a contributor on a project using “go-to person” makes it sound less important than it may have been. Instead use “influenced” and describe how you were the resident pro on the topic and were able to use it to help during the project.


You can also describe what a team-player you are AND your willingness to teach others your skills. Both are substantial traits companies look for in job candidates.


Don’t use: Dynamic

Instead use: Improved

I love the word dynamic, so hearing this was a bit of a shock for me, but I get it. Instead, you need to show HR how you have improved over time and how your experiences have enabled you to grow professionally and personally. This is where the interviewer gets to see a bit of your personality and your ability to handle change.


Don’t use: Value Add

Instead use: Created

All you have achieved, resolved, influenced, and improved are the values you add. You don’t need to sound like a broken record during the interview by repeating the same things you just described. Instead talk about all that you have created through these values for yourself. Describe your accomplishments with the values you can add to a position, and a company.


There are hundreds of words out there that could be used to describe you. But the ones you want to include in your resume must show your positivity and a personality, not the generic words a Google search told you to use.


Now that you have perfected your resume and are ready to apply for jobs, check out our listings here!


Last Updated: May 24, 2017
About the author

Cally Martin

Callan is a social media loving, blog writing, event planning freelancer who believes in the power of the oxford comma. Originally from America’s high-five (Michigan), she’s been in Austin since 2015 and doesn’t plan on moving anytime soon. When not attached to WiFi, she can be found running around the lake or drinking mimosas at brunch.