Really Disturbing Stuff (On Resumés)

Growing up, I loved two things: eating obscene amounts of Gushers and reading books. In addition to my love for literature (and processed food), I had an English teacher for a father who corrected me every time I said “me” instead of “I” and an uncle who used words that haven’t been around since the 17th century.

At the age of 25, I should be a walking thesaurus (not to mention, obese). Unfortunately, there are certain words that seem to make it into nearly every one of my conversations, English major be damned.

Case in point:

“In middle school I was too fat to wear anything with a button or a zipper, so my mom had to buy me jeans with an elastic waistband. It was disturbing.”

“Yesterday I was eating vegetables and something felt weird, so I blew my nose and a piece of broccoli shot out. I was really disturbed.”

“Did you watch The Bachelor on Monday? This one girl had an emotional breakdown and was curled up in the fetal position in the corner of the luggage room, crying. It was so disturbing.”

Yeah, and here’s another thing that’s disturbing—how frequently I use that word.

My sometimes stunted vocabulary is embarrassing, but I’m not alone. According to LinkedIn, many people make the mistake of using clichéd and tired words or phrases in their resumés, too. Whether they’re copying off of others or just too lazy to think of better words, these job seekers are attracting the wrong attention.

LinkedIn’s analytics team trolled through the tired phrases posted to its site and came up with 10 words that people should stop using in their resumés:

  1. Creative. If you really were creative, you’d find a more creative way to say so.
  2. Organizational. This sounds far too similar to “strategical.” And then I think of George W. choking on a pretzel.
  3.  Effective. At what? Surely not writing a resumé.
  4.  Extensive experience. Your resumé is what you use to highlight your experience. Assuming your prospective employer can read, he will see this experience without you reminding him that you have it.
  5.  Track record. A track record is something you set in high school—in offensively revealing shorts—for running the mile in under five minutes.
  6.  Motivated. No one is going to say they’re lazy and can barely muster the energy to use the bathroom. Show that you’re motivated by pursuing these job leads.
  7.  Innovative. Again, if you’re so innovative, why couldn’t you come up with a more innovative way of showcasing it?
  8.  Problem solving. As opposed to curling up in the fetal position of, say, a luggage room, and crying?
  9.  Communication skills. Gorillas have ‘communication skills.’ In fact, I’m pretty sure slugs have them, too. The term is far too broad.
  10.  Dynamic. When I think of ‘dynamic,’ I picture Richard Simmons leading an exercise class in hot pink spandex. Is that what you want to be associated with?

Honestly, the things people will put in their resumés is downright disturbing.

For additional management tips, check out the January issue of units, which mailed Jan. 8.