Phrases to Avoid on Resumes/Cover Letters

If you ask your parents to help with your resume or cover letter, you will likely hear them suggest some or all of the following phrases that were once considered savvy:
  • Results-oriented professional
  • Cross-functional teams
  • More than [x] years of progressively responsible experience
  • Superior (or excellent) communication skills
  • Strong work ethic
  • Met or exceeded expectations
  • Proven track record of success
  • Works well with all levels of staff
  • Team player
  • Bottom-line orientation

According to an article posted on (, the truth is…these phrases sound stodgy and generic. (Come on…you have at least one on your resume or cover letter right now, don’t you?)

The author suggested striving to make your resume and cover letter sound like they were actually written by a human and gave the following example as a more effective way of marketing your skill set:

"I'm a Marketing Researcher who's driven by curiosity about why people buy what they do. At XYZ Industries, I used consumer surveys and online-forum analysis to uncover the reasons why consumers chose our competitors over us; our sales grew twenty percent over the next six months as a result. I'm equally at home on sales calls or analyzing data in seclusion, and up to speed on traditional and new-millennium research tools and approaches. I'm fanatical about understanding our marketplace better every day, week and month -- and have helped my employers' brands grow dramatically as a result."

Something to think about…what are your thoughts?!


Anonymous said...

A good post on "Phrases to Avoid on Resumes/Cover Letters"An important point is a resume and cover letter should be the marketing tools that help candidate to land the position that is perfect for him.


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Bose said...

Thanks for revealing this super valuable resource!
Cover letters