ringier home icon

7 Résumé Clichés Most Job Seekers Use

Resume Cliches Job seekers use
Resume Cliches Job seekers use


Many job seekers would rather fantasize about being their own boss than craft glowing résumés to suit specific jobs.  You’d do anything to avoid that nerve racking moment where you have to trim your whole life experience to fit into a few pages. Because it takes time and requires too much work, the next best thing is to download résumé samples written by experts from the web, copy those buzzwords into your résumé and open sesame! You look good on paper. Or do you?

What are these buzzwords and how best can Job Seekers use them?

Team player: a recruiter once revealed, “when I see ‘team player’ in a résumé, it reminds me of everything I know about sports and games but rarely anything about the candidate being qualified to be on my team”. You are a team player if you’ve; led a team, supervised a project or worked with (and outperformed) a group.  Anything beyond this ambit or unrelated is an obvious no-no if you understand the recruitment game.

Proven track record of…: we all have track records. Your résumé is a track record in itself. Writing ‘a proven track record’ in a track record is downright confusing but you can use this cliché to convince interviewers to hire you by including any remarkable thing relating to your work experience.

Result oriented:  the question here is; do you know what it means to be Result oriented? Not what it means to you, but what recruiters expect from someone with this attribute? Results! What outstanding thing have you done before?  Save the story telling for your interview but put in bullet points of upshots from your work experience. What percentage of cost did you save? How many clients did you get? How did you increase profit margin? These are some of the things employers look out for in result oriented persons and you had better not put this in your résumé if you have nothing to show.

Can work in a fast-paced environment: fast-paced environments are relative; you are yet to wrap your mind around the job duties, you don’t really know your bosses, how are you sure you can keep up? Recruiters will believe this if you give a summary of a previous job you did in a fast-paced environment.

People person: this makes you sound like the 21st Century Mary Slessor, maybe Santa Claus, laudable but not attractive enough if you have nothing to prove it.  You’d be making a lot sense if you’ve worked with a team or you volunteered for a project in real life and claim to be a people person on paper.

‘Responsibilities include’: of course, every job comes with responsibilities; however, this cliché makes meaning if you spent little time on the particular job role but you want recruiters to see you were exposed to a few things; and please, do not put “etc” at the end of your list of responsibilities, recruiters read that as indifference, more like, “let me do this and get over with.” Take the time to include any relevant details in the different sections.

Creative/Innovative: recruiters can only believe this when you give a piece- by- piece information on the ground-breaking solutions you once proffered. Were you involved in a project and you exuded excellence? Did you help your former employers turn around a bad situation? These are the things you should include in your résumé.

If your résumé reads somewhat like;

“Detail oriented with a proven track record of excellence in performance, experienced mechanical engineer; team player, dynamic, can work in a fast paced environment and very innovative.”

You should have relevant experience to back it up.

Do better than the average job seeker who drops a generic résumé and waits for luck to make things work. Put the hours in and you’ll get something unconventional and eye-catching.

Some rules of thumb for creating an impressive résumé include:

Do not crowd your career summary or profile with clichés : That 25-30 word description of you is a strong determining factor, recruiters decide from this point whether to dig into the details in your résumé or just roll their eyes over. Don’t rob yourself of the chance to tell a great story, give your readers an interesting read from the outset.

Get rid of those redundant avoidable unnecessary words, they bore your readers and echo the word “unqualified” in their minds.

You may appear too big for your boots when you use Clichés;  but if it seems a herculean task finding uncommon words or catchphrases that best describe you in a 200,000 word dictionary; then use clichés, just don’t use them to only fill spaces, and use them sparingly. For most recruiters, adding clichés in your résumé is not the problem, what they find annoying is when there’s nothing substantial to support those words. Use quantifiable experience to give the clichés a unique appeal to recruiters.

Getting the best of your résumé is more of what you remove than what you add.

Need help with your résumé?  Talk to our CV experts.

Please share your thoughts in the section below.

Nathan Jeffery
Notification Bell