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Words Not to Use on Your Resume

Words That Should Never Appear on Your Resume

Most of us have presented several drafts of resumes over the years, beginning with our glamorous first jobs and interning experiences, and constantly evolving during our tour of the workplace trenches. Writing resumes is somewhat of an art form, and if you've been the author of your own resume then you've undoubtedly come across lists of attention-grabbing action words. Maybe you're thinking that if everyone is using the same list, then how are you ever going to stand out in the eyes of an employer? Don't go there, at least not by abusing your thesaurus. Let your experience speak for itself (with the help of those action words) and see my list of words that should never appear on a resume when you

  • Fantastic, splendid, amazing, phenomenal, awesome, cool, spectacular, etc: Stick to the facts and save your enthusiasm for the interview — your interviewer will determine how amazing your computer skills are or if your phenomenal presence is worthy of a job offer.
  • Hate, love, joy, happiness, despise, abhor, pleasure: Avoid using any words that are meant to convey your feelings about a job function. If you get the interview, they might ask you what you liked best or least about a particular job, but don't jump the gun on your resume.
  • Hot, attractive, bombshell, gorgeous, beautiful, all-natural: Unless you're applying for a position with the Emperor's Club, your resume isn't an appropriate forum for your looks no matter how proud you are of what stares back at you in the mirror.
  • Liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, monotheistic, polytheistic, atheist, agnostic, etc: You get the gist — your resume, and for that matter the job interview, is no place for showcasing politics or religion. Resumes are about facts, not distracting opinions or unrelated personal details.
  • Healthy, strong immune system, flu magnet, terminally ill, food allergies: Providing health facts isn't just too much information, it's information that your employer has no business knowing. Employers can ask if you have any issues that would prevent you from performing your job function, but even those details don't belong on a professional resume.
Join The Conversation
emalove emalove 9 years
Avoiding words like these on your resume just seems like common sense to me!
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i think that i'm going to inlcude blonde bombshell and flu magnet on my resume from now on. that's actually funny. :) at least none of the words thre were on my resume, so i think i'm in good shape.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
syako syako 9 years
no no no snowbunny. It's not that it's inconsistent. It's just that savvy (and many others) says you shouldn't reveal through your resume your political and religious leanings REGARDLESS. And I'm saying that my volunteer (work-related) experience was for a student group with religious leanings, therefore if I list it the employer will know that about me... get it?
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
I somewhat disagree with Tidalwave's opinion on volunteer work. She does have a good point that if you are essentially an unpaid employee, it is better to list it under experience, and probably just serving sandwiches in a soup kitchen isn't going to interest anyone. I understand that in the corporate world, volunteer work might not be that important, but this might not always be the case. My boss cared about volunteer work when he hired me because we are a small firm in a mid-size city, and the reputation of the firm is important, and all of the attorneys are involved in some charity. Sykao- As far as putting down experience that is really inconsistent with the job you are applying for, I think it can go either way. My friend was sending his resume to a conservative judge for a clerkship, and he had worked on the campaign for a Democrat. One of our professors encouraged him to still list it because the professor had been very liberal and had clerked for a conservative judge who liked to have a diversity of viewpoints on his staff. Obviously, some potential employer might HATE that though,but I wonder, if your experience and political and religious leanings are so inconsistent with what you are applying for, maybe it isn't even a good fit for you! I wouldn't apply to a job as a slaughterhouse inspector after spearheading a PETA go vegetarian! campaign on campus!
graylen graylen 9 years
"Though I am a flu-magnet bombshell, I will do my best to not let that get in the way of my fantastic work ethic..."
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
They must not have wanted that job very much :ROTFL:
karisaamy karisaamy 9 years
Flu Magnet??? Really?? Someone actually used that on a resume'
DreaAST DreaAST 9 years
good tip but i am not really sure why most of these words would possibly be on a resume to begin with.
cvandoorn cvandoorn 9 years
Flu magnet? Seriously? Has anybody ever done that???
jb3 jb3 9 years
Great Read, Savvy! I didn't see this on a resume, but I heard someone use the word pleasurous (which isn't a word) in an interview. Unreal.
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
Cool, thanks for agreeing with me carriebeth. As stated above, I would list that type of professional experience for an organization under Organizations on a resume or simply Experience.
Beauty Beauty 9 years
I also dislike 50-cent words such as myriad and plethora.
CarrieBethH CarrieBethH 9 years
I completely disagree with Tidal on this... it's definitely ok to mention volunteer work on your resume, but ONLY if it's RELEVANT!! For instance, let's say you're in sales but want to transition into a job in PR, it would be very relevant to list PR volunteer work you've done for a local charity or organization...
CarrieBethH CarrieBethH 9 years
Maybe I'm taking this a little bit to literally, but there are times when some of these words are acceptable... for instance applying for a congressional intern position, you'd want to mention your political affiliation, or let's say you're a model/actress, etc. Personal descriptions are completely valid!
avienndha avienndha 9 years
It's amazing how many people still put their picture and some even their social security number on their resume. I'm astounded every time I see it. More common than you think.
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
these seem rather obvious to me.
syako syako 9 years
thanks for the advice tidal! My husband just found out we're being transferred so it's back to the resume drawing board for me now. :oy:
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
I meant, actual volunteer work like charity work. I'm sure it makes me look like a good person, but my employer could care less if I am a Big Sister, or help out at food kitchens. Unless I was applying for a job at a day care or something, there is no need for my employer to know that. Unless it really pertains to the job. Actually, syako, do you have an Organizations section on your resume? Because that might be a good place to put something like that. I wouldn't call that volunteer work still though. Organizations sounds more formal (since it was) although you weren't paid for it.
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
I did help out a student group with some pretty major communication campaigns Then that's just another listing under Experience. That section is called "experience" and not "previous employers" for a reason. It is for any legitimate experience that will make you a better candidate for the job than someone else. So if you managed, lead, trained, consulted, any of those 'action words' for the student group, then I would list that as it's own experience. I guess with campaigns (i'm a communication major myself) your beliefs might show through, so I guess that would be up to you - how you felt about the company you are applying for, if you would want to list certain campaigns. Still, you basically want to keep everything as objective as you can.
sweetrae80 sweetrae80 9 years
syako syako 9 years
Well I technically work at a non profit right now... but my field is mass communication and I did help out a student group with some pretty major communication campaigns while in school a few years ago. You think it's irrelevant to a corporate job?
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
syako... There is never a need to put volunteer stuff on your resume, unless you are applying for a non-profit or some sort of organization of which your volunteer work would be important to, and then that non-profit organization probably has some sort of political or moral leaning anyway. Volunteer work isn't going to make or break if you get a corporate job.
advo advo 9 years
I'll keep those things in mind for next time.
melizzle melizzle 9 years
So having "Brunette Bombshell" in bold print on top of my resume is a no-no?
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