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Keep these cliches off your resume!

Nov 08, 2018


Resume writing is a serious business. And when you're applying to businesses you want to work for, your resume needs to impress as your professional first impression. An average corporate job opening attracts about 250 resumes, and when recruiters only spend up to seven seconds scanning one for qualities that qualify, candidates must choose their words wisely. Because almost nothing can impress less than overused and outdated phrases.

Is your resume cliché? Procom Recruiters admit to 10 of the most cringe-worthy words and terms candidates should leave off their resumes.

Quick learner/go-getter

"Stating you're a quick learner or a go-getter means nothing without context," says Valerie Anderson-Migliore a Technical Recruiter with Procom, "What did you learn, how did you learn, in what time frame, how did it help you achieve success in your work?" Recruiters and hiring managers rely on quantifiable statements, so always ensure to use numbers, percentages and dates. 

Team player

A hiring manager expects you to want to achieve results and get along with co-workers, so it isn't necessary to say so on your CV. But using terms like "competitive environment" demonstrates an ability to produce under a level of pressure and achieve both individual and group goals.

People person

Hiring  managers admit that likability is their #1 hiring factor, and being approachable is an expectation.  Christa Mancino, a Technical Recruiter with Procom advises, "Provide specific examples of your interactions with co-workers or teams you've led."

Hard worker

The quantifiable achievements on your resume will provide proof of your work ethic. "Be specific," advises Stephanie Oblitas, an Associate Recruiter with Procom. "You need to show how you added value or contributed to the company."


Although recruiters and hiring managers rarely take the time to read between the lines, the length of your previously held positions, project scopes and the people you report to will prove these qualities.

Seasoned/vast knowledge

Sometimes, even without meaning to, recruiters and hiring managers may unknowingly hold a bias, and these outdated terms could age you. Instead, using a word like "skilled" in conjunction with the industry you work in, allows you to describe specific skills that match the job description and increase the SEO value of your resume.

References available upon request

Resume real estate is valuable, and recruiters and hiring managers already assume you'll have references. So leave the statement off the CV and fill the space with your quantifiable achievements instead.

Responsible for...

What you accomplished in previous roles is much more important that what you were hired to do. So you need to demonstrate your accomplishments with the aforementioned quantifiable achievements.

Creative/outside-the-box thinker

Creative types really do show instead of tell, so you need to do the same if that's your professional proclamation. Nothing puts a creative more in a box than being common.


To fully demonstrate how much you love what you do, incorporate details about personal projects related to your line of work. Recruiters and hiring managers will also be checking your social media profiles, so if you're sharing industry or job related content, your passion will show.

Remember:  Your resume needs to first stand out in a recruiter's inbox before you can be invited in for an interview.

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