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Don’t Include these 5 Phrases in Your Resume

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When you’re preparing your resume, don’t ever use cliché phrases that are just, well, too cliché. These clichés are generic phrases that hiring managers and human resource managers see over and over again. Even if you know the terms are accurate, there is usually a better and more original way to describe yourself and your abilities.

Here are five phrases, or words, you should never include on your resume.

Hard Worker

Describing yourself with this vaguely positive descriptive trait in a resume doesn’t prove your worth. In fact, you just described yourself and around a hundred others in the most generic term possible. This will definitely undermine your value as a candidate in failing to show how you’re different from the other applicants. Focus on realistic accomplishments and concrete skills instead of relying on personal description using so many adjectives.

You should simply never include the use of the term “hard worker” as it is too general and generic and a phrase anyone could apply to themselves. Let’s face it, the office janitor is a “hard worker” same as the supervisor or marketing director. Instead, why not highlight actual accomplishments and results that you have done in the past that you can show off to potential employers. Many employers are simply blown away by seeing data-driven numbers as opposed to general blanket statements.


This is another overused cliché that many hiring managers are already so sick of. Many would disagree with the phrase too, because in some cases, there’s nothing wrong with thinking inside the box, and it’s been proven that employers who insist on thinking “out-of-the-box tend to be narcissistic. This phrase will never distinguish you as professionally different from other applicants.

Also, avoid other overused and narcissistic-sounding phrases like win-win, core competencies, empowered, and best practices. They’ve just been so overused that people are sick of them. Rephrase and think of clarity instead of jargon. For instance, instead of saying, “Led a 5-person team in marketing,” try rephrasing by using, “Our 5-person marketing team increased annual sales by more than 5%.”


Never mention money or salary before you even get an interview. Any mention of the word “salary” on a résumé sets off red alarms to an employer and discourages them from scheduling you for an interview.

Reference Available Upon Request

In this new age you no longer need to place “Reference available upon request” or the names and contact points of the references themselves. Using the former is superfluous. As for the latter, given that companies will often ask for a waiver before contacting references, they can be presented in a separate document ready to be presented to the employer.


Again, in this new day and age, placing “Objective” at the top of your resume is no longer chic. Remember that you aren’t just selling yourself but what the company needs and expects from you. The company already knows your objective and that’s to get hired into the position. So, instead of telling the employer what you want, use this space to show them how relevant you are in making more money for them.


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