Incorporating certain keywords and phrases into your resume and LinkedIn profile can help you get noticed by employers, but they don’t all carry equal weight. Certain terms can actually hinder your chances of getting the job, because they’re overused and outdated. Learn which keywords to avoid, so you don’t inadvertently put yourself out of the running before you’ve even had a fair chance to prove yourself.
7 Overused Keywords and Tips to Help You Stand Out
If these keywords are included in your resume or LinkedIn profile, remove them now, because they’re working against you:
- Team Player. Instead of saying you’re a team player, give specific examples highlighting your ability to work well with others and follow instructions from management.
- Problem Solver. Simply labeling yourself as a problem solver tells the reader nothing about you. Instead, briefly highlight an accomplishment where you solved a complex problem.
- Results-Driven. Hiring managers expect you to produce results, so when used alone, this phrase is pointless. Prove your value by employing statistics to showcase results you’ve actually produced.
- Think Outside the Box. This cliché is tired. Delete it and simply include examples of some of your most creative successes, which proves the same point without making you appear cheesy.
- Expert. Anyone can call themselves an expert on just about anything. Instead of giving yourself this designation, share a few relevant accomplishments you’re most proud of, which will clearly paint this picture on its own.
- Innovative. This keyword is so overused, it’s lost meaning. Make the same point — but stronger — by sharing examples of times you’ve actually done something revolutionary.
- Synergy. Another keyword way past its prime, using any form of synergy will likely deter your chances of getting the job. Steer clear of this term and if you must broach the subject, replace it with “collaboration” or “partnership.”
Hiring decisions are very difficult, so managers want to read copy that showcase proven results. Buzzwords go out of style fast, so constantly review your resume and LinkedIn profile to make sure you haven’t included any terms that have gone stale.
Tailor Your Application for Each Position
Prior to submitting an application, it’s also advisable to carefully review a job description, note any keywords used frequently and find a way to naturally weave them into your cover letter and resume. Many companies use keyword scanning software, so if you don’t incorporate a certain percentage of these terms, you’ll be automatically excluded. This method takes a bit longer, but it’s well worth the extra time and effort.
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