Same Old Résumé Catch Phrases Turn Employers Off

March 18, 2014 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – If you are a “go-getter” who always “thinks outside the box” and a “detail-oriented” “team player,” you may not want to tell a prospective employer.

A CareerBuilder survey found one in six hiring managers (17%) spend 30 seconds or less, on average, reviewing résumés. A majority (68 percent) spend less than two minutes.

With so little time to capture interest, a candidate’s word choice can make a difference. “Hiring managers prefer strong action words that define specific experience, skills and accomplishments,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “Subjective terms and clichés are seen as negative because they don’t convey real information. For instance, don’t say you are ‘results-driven’; show the employer your actual results.”

The following are terms employers like to see on a résumé:

1. Achieved: 52%

2. Improved: 48%

3. Trained/Mentored: 47%

4. Managed: 44%

5. Created: 43%

6. Resolved: 40%

7. Volunteered: 35%

8. Influenced: 29%

9. Increased/Decreased: 28%

10. Ideas: 27%

11. Negotiated: 25%

12. Launched: 24%

13. Revenue/Profits: 23%

14. Under budget: 16%

15. Won: 13%

The following terms are résumé turn-offs selected by respondents:

1. Best of breed: 38%

2. Go-getter: 27%

3. Think outside of the box: 26%

4. Synergy: 22%

5. Go-to person: 22%

6. Thought leadership: 16%

7. Value add: 16%

8. Results-driven: 16%

9. Team player: 15%

10. Bottom-line: 14%

11. Hard worker: 13%

12. Strategic thinker: 12%

13. Dynamic: 12%

14. Self-motivated: 12%

15. Detail-oriented: 11%

16. Proactively: 11%

17. Track record: 10%

The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,201 hiring managers and human resource professionals between November 6 and December 2, 2013.

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