4 Resume Mistakes That You Should Avoid At All Costs

In All, The Job Hunter by Ethan SmithLeave a Comment

Resume-Mistakes-583x332Ever wondered what happens when you press the “submit” button on a job ad – and why you don’t get a call back for an interview?

Hiring managers often get sent hundreds – if not thousands – of resumes for every position they advertise. With a thick pile of resumes to sort through, you only have a split second to get a hiring manager’s attention.

You always want your resume to be sharp, concise and easy-to-read. The same goes for your Workible profile.

We spoke to a lot of hiring managers recently to find out what words or phrases irritate them. Below is a list of common fluff words and phrases that get under hiring managers’ skin and why you should leave them out of your profile.

1. “I performed various tasks and various projects and various cool things”

The word ‘various’ is a very common filler word that contributes very little – if any – meaning to a sentence. Career Advisor Erin Berkery-Rovner says “It is single-handedly the most useless adjective on a resume – it essentially boils down to saying nothing new about the nouns that it prefaces.”

Indeed, it is extremely ambiguous and tells the hiring manager what you’re describing is probably unimportant. Be more specific in your resume by actually saying what you did and use your resume to highlight your greatest assets rather than your ‘various’ skills.

2. “I activated some totally awesome synergism in my previous department”

The word ‘synergy’ became a phenomenon… about 10 years ago. It has also been a favourite of standup comedians and workplace jokes for almost as long. Do you want to use a word in your resume that is such a cliché? No. Don’t bother trying to make yourself look smart by inserting any form of the word ‘synergy’ in your resume because it will achieve the opposite.

3. Overusing overused words overly

As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to list your general skills or personal qualities – ideally in bullet-point form – to attract a potential employer. Writing that you’re ‘hardworking and reliable’ or ‘motivated and driven’ may be good but it’s quite common. Even worse is making a wooden list of the most cliché personal qualities possible, like:

  • Patient
  • Good communication skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Logical
  • Team player
  • Computer skills

While it’s great to have these qualities, they may tell a shrewd employer that you don’t have anything unique to offer their company. Try to write your personal qualities in a more descriptive and creative way.

For example, instead of simply ‘Patient’ or ‘Problem solving skills’ you can write ‘Able to deal with difficult customers and handle complaints while maintaining composure.’ Or instead of ‘Team player’ write an example of how you have demonstrated it from experience.

4. “My resume is a resume”

Another thing to delete from your resume is the title… Resume.

An article from inc.com, which lists 20 things you should leave off your resume, simply says under number 15:

The word “Resume”

Don’t title your resume, “Resume.” Ugh…”

And yes, this short and sweet quote made me laugh. Of course the document you submitted is your resume! Why would you send a love letter or an essay or a sonnet to a hiring manager? I can’t tell you how many resumes I’ve seen that contain this unnecessary word. Don’t bother. This includes ‘C.V.’ or ‘Curriculum Vitae’. The hiring manager doesn’t need to know your resume is a resume. Skip to the important stuff – what skills and experience you bring to the table, and why you’d be a great fit for the role advertised.


Remember, less is more, especially where your resume is concerned. Make your resume nice and polished for every job opportunity. Delete everything that would bore a hiring manager. Make it impressive, descriptive, and precise rather than filling it with so many flattering adjectives. Happy job hunting!

Please tell us your thoughts below on the most useless and/or irritating resume buzzwords you’ve encountered.

Ethan Smith
Ethan is quite a strange individual. He wishes to become a theologian one day and yet he bursts into song at any moment he pleases.

He is currently employed as a Virtual Assistant, born and raised in New Zealand, he is an ex-model turned bald. He has a Bachelor’s degree but is now studying towards his Masters in Divinity.

“Being part of the Workible team has been a blast! The people are ridiculously kind haha.”

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