Top 6 Most Overused Words in a Resume

Hiring managers go through a lot of resumes in their careers. In fact, they have to review an average 118 resumes for every position they’re in charge of filling. And let’s say the company they work for posts an average 100 jobs a year, that’s 11,800 resumes that they have to go through each year. And that’s excluding all the resumes their family and friends will make them look at.

It can be an exhausting process, especially when the same words pop up over and over again, and those resumes either get thrown in the bin or bore the hiring manager to death. And that’s, obviously, not the result you were hoping for. You have to craft the perfect resume if you want to stand out from the crowd, but just how do you do that? Well, for starters, you don’t use any of these six words.

See Also: 10 Words You’re Using Incorrectly

1. Motivated

Motivated climber


The word “motivated”, especially when it’s presented by itself with no explanation or lead-up, is vague at best. After all, if you weren’t motivated, you wouldn’t exactly be pursuing a career move to the next level. Assuming that you’re using this word in your to present your skills and accomplishments, a headline-style sentence can make all the difference, like “MBA candidate with numerous promotions in leadership roles”. This shows that you’re motivated without having to use that nine-letter word.

2. Creative

Man painting wall


“Creative” is almost always near the top of overused buzzwords lists, and with good reason. It’s simply not creative enough anymore; everybody’s using it. Take it out and instead, tell your story with words. What problem did you face, in what circumstances, and how did you solve it?

3. Expert

Bullseye dart board


This word is simply silly because no one is really an expert at anything. Not only are you lying to yourself, but you’re also lying to potential employers. And quite sadly, “expert” appears on every other resume.

4. Enthusiastic

Enthusiastic young woman


You may, in fact, be an “enthusiastic individual”, but that won’t get you anywhere. You’ll have a far better chance of getting ahead in your job search if you presented yourself as a “miserable sod” on your resume.

5. Innovative

Light bulbs hanging from ceiling


Like “creative”, “innovative” has simply lost its strength. If you really are innovative like you claim you are, you’d have come up with more innovative ways to show it. “Giving birth to new strategies” is a good start.

6. Passionate

Matches catching fire


They say that if you keep saying “I love you”, the words will lose their meaning. And the same can be said about words like “passionate”. A better way to approach this trait would be to provide examples of your so-called passion. While a bold move, is something like, “Once committed to a project, there is nothing that can stand in the way of my success”.

See Also: Top 10 Most Overused Resume Phrases

Can you think of any other words that have been overused in resumes? Let us know in the comments section below, and don’t forget to share this article with anyone you know that’s in the process of writing a resume to land their dream job!


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