4 Adjectives You Should Avoid Using on Your Resume


When writing a resume, it is necessary to use a lot of adjectives to describe your qualifications, work history and most likely your goals. However, a resume filled with unnecessary flowery, hackneyed, potentially negative, redundant and vague adjectives/adjective phrases can detract from your purpose of crafting a professional-sounding resume.

Fluffy adjectives can endanger and weaken the content of your resume in the professional eyes of the hiring managers. Adjectives that don’t tell the prospective employer anything about you or your capabilities and work experience, which may be of value to the company are best avoided and never written on your resume.

Listed below are adjectives/adjective phrases to avoid and some suggestions on how to better say it.

1. “Highly/Extremely Organized”

You might think this conveys a good eye for detail; sure it does. But it also give the impression that you may have the tendency for nit-picking and inclined to get obsessed with the minutiae (in short, you could be petty!) You can easily be perceived as somebody who easily loses sight of the bigger picture while being caught up in crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s.

CLEAN is the bigger picture here.

Solution: Why not speak about your ability to streamline production in a straightforward manner, instead; citing cost savings or saving time and money. This gives a better impression of being able to focus on details and use them to the best advantage for the benefit of the company.

2. “Proven Track Record”

Ambiguous to say the least and gives the impression of feigning or making false claims that you cannot back-up with real facts and figures. Communicate your achievements by using number representations in dollars and percentages to drive your point.

Solution: A better way of putting this is to simply say: history of accomplishments or record of achievements; then back it up with hard numbers, such as: “Increased sales by 20% in the first quarter.”

3. “Excellent Communication Skills”

When you use this phrase to describe you as a good communicator, what precisely does it mean? Does it simply inform that you speak well with a wide range of vocabulary; or do you want to convey that people understand you and you can persuade them to take what you say seriously and follow your lead?

Communication Skills? I'm doing just fine, thank you.

Solution: Don’t be inanely superfluous; if those skills have actually helped you achieve real and significant results, state the cases/circumstances in brief.

4. “Highly Adept at Multitasking”

Strictly speaking, this often means the ability of a person to do several things all at once, which could be an admirable quality – but not if most of them are badly done. This could even imply you lack focus.

Solution: Be specific and show proof that you are able to supervise more than one project as a project manager, for example, and mention actual numbers or specific figures that reflect cost savings and other comparable benefits to the company.

The adjectives you use to describe your skills and experiences on your resume can make or break your chances of landing a job interview. Weak adjectives may just blend you into mediocrity and never make your resume stand out; but strong adjectives that are meaningless and just fluffs are equally ineffective.

Make sure that you use adjectives that portray useful information on your resume. Review your resume and scratch out all useless and ambiguous adjectives and modifiers. Freshen it up with adjectives and phrases that are clearer, more accurate and to-the-point.

Karen Flowers

Written by Karen Flowers

Professional resume writer, Karen Flowers lives by the rule that an effective resume is the key to a successful job search. Her company, TheResumeChick.com, provides an affordable way to get effective, custom resumes in a jiffy. You can get more tips from her blog or simply follow her amusing factoids, discussions and articles on her Twitter.

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One Response to “4 Adjectives You Should Avoid Using on Your Resume”
  1. McFly says:

    More lame descriptions:
    -“hard working”
    -“quick learner”

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