Words to Avoid When Writing A Resume
To succeed in today’s job market, your résumé and cover letter must be concise and easy to read. Sounds obvious, right?
But you’d be surprised how often a résumé or cover letter are ruined when the author utilizes a superabundance of polysyllabic terminology (uses too many big words).
Here are seven of the most commonly used “big words” that I see every day in résumés sent to me by clients. Warning! Using these words may cause severe drowsiness … and get your résumé tossed in the wastebasket.
My all-time least favorite word. It’s a favorite of senators and others who make their living by not speaking clearly. Try saying “roll-out” or “set-up” instead.
Have you ever heard anyone use this word in a conversation, ever? Neither have I. Never “utilize” what you can simply “use.”
- Impact (used as a verb)
Wisdom teeth are impacted. And I suppose meteorites can “impact” the moon. But in your résumé and cover letter, use the verb “affect.”
- Impactful (allegedly an adjective)
“Illiterate” is the image this word conveys. Say “high-impact” (better) or “effective” (best).
Don’t “facilitate” a meeting; “help lead” or “conduct” it instead.
I’m pretty sure this term refers to “products” or “finished goods.” But I could be wrong.
I think it was Isaac Asimov who said: “When I’m interfacing with a woman, I’m kissing her, by God.” This word can be the kiss of death to clarity. Instead of “interfacing” with people, “work” with them.
In short, don’t hide behind your vocabulary. Just be informative and clear.
Write as you would speak to your manager. Then read your résumé and cover letter aloud. If you find yourself gasping for breath halfway through a sentence, stop. Break it into two or three shorter sentences. Then read it again until it flows smoothly.
When you’ve finished, call your best friend and read your writing over the phone. If it’s 100% clear by phone, congratulations! Your résumé and cover letter are now easier to read than 98% of what’s out there in the job market.