In early 2009 Squawk Fox posted a great article titled “Six Words that Make Your Resume Suck”
What I find especially interesting is how much the two have in common. Both are spot on, but I do admit I think Squawk Fox’s is better, it is crystal clear, funny, and he provides useful alternatives to the clichés.
Start with the bad words… No, not four letter words, just meaningless ones. Manu Sharma’s list:
1. Extensive experience
6. Proven track record
7. Team player
9. Problem solver
Now from Squawk Fox:
1. Responsible for
3. Excellent written communication skills
4. Team Player
5. Detail Oriented
Notice the overlap? What do they have in common? I think it’s reasonable obvious, The words on these two lists claim characteristics, rather than demonstrating them.
There is a place on your resume where these are acceptable, even desirable. Using a “Core Competencies” section on your resume, you are telling the reader that you are claiming certain characteristics and/or skills. The rest of your resume is all about demonstrating them.
Linkedin doesn’t really have a “Core Competencies” section, so we aren’t going to be able to set up that kind of a section, and sometimes, the words/phrases above are part of likely “key words” that hiring managers may look for. So how do we balance?
Take “Team Player” which is on both lists, does that mean you were on your high school volleyball team? How about telling us about a team you were on? Plagiarizing from Squawk Fox, let’s replace “Team Player” with specifics:
- Worked with clients, software developers, technical writers, and interface designers to deliver financial reporting software three months before deadline.
In Linkedin, we could do:
- Demonstrated Team Player, having worked with clients, software developers, technical writers, and interface designers to deliver financial reporting software three months before deadline.
These are sooo much more powerful! As a hiring manager, these bullets jump off of the page and tell me why I want the guy/gal who wrote it.
So here are a couple of great links and some outstanding advice. Take a look at your profile, take a look at your resume and see if you can implement it.