Words to Omit from Your Resume

It’s true: a good resume is really, really hard to write. And the hardest part about crafting a great resume is that there are too many traps to fall into. There are too many buzzwords, too many cliches, too many phrases that you think recruiters want to see…when they really don’t.


The temptation to use cliches on a resume is great. Phrases like “team player” and “goal-oriented” and “results-driven” may seem like a great idea when you’re staring at a blank Word doc and wondering what in the world you’re going to say about yourself, but cliches have a negative reputation for a reason. Too many people use them. Here are some other cliches people put on their resume:

  • Strong communication skills
  • Track record of success
  • Go-to person

Remember, the entire point of a resume is to make yourself stand out. By using too many cliches, you risk making yourself sound like every other candidate on the market.


The only difference between a buzzword and a cliche is that a buzzword is fashionable and a cliche is tired and expected. But they all have one thing in common: they’re meaningless when they’re not backed up by facts, and if you have the facts to back them up, then they’re unnecessary. As a general rule, if you have to dress up your resume, then you’re hiding something–either a lack of productivity or a lack-luster career. Examples of buzzwords:

  • Dynamic
  • Experienced
  • Responsible
  • Impactful
  • Utilized

What Recruiters Look For

It’s called “show, don’t tell.” What this means is that including real facts about the work you’ve done shows recruiters that you are valuable and that, if hired, you will be an asset. Recruiters look for results, not fluff. They want to see words that indicate you took meaningful action and had an impact in your previous work places. Here are a few examples of words that indicate you’re a person of action:

  • Decreased/increased
  • Managed
  • Influenced
  • Achieved
  • Negotiated
  • Trained
  • Improved
  • Mentored

Other Suggestions

Use words that mirror the job posting you’re applying for. When applying for several jobs, keep an inventory of the most frequently used terms in those advertisements, and pepper your resume with those words and phrases. Another suggestion: be sure to use industry lingo in your resume and cover letter. Show that you’re an industry-insider, and that you’re comfortable with the type of position you’re applying for. If you’re really hoping to go the extra mile, spend some time looking on the company website before you submit your resume, and echo those words you see in the company’s mission statement and about page.

A resume and cover letter for freelancers can be difficult to write. Artisan Talent creative staffing agency can help! We can give you the tips you need to make your resume and cover letter stand out from the competition. Contact Artisan today for more information.


Artisan Talent is a Digital, Marketing and Creative Staffing Firm placing talent in jobs perfectly matched with their skills all over the US.  For available jobs, to submit your resume, or learn more about working with Artisan Talent, contact us here.

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