Great Resumes Fast » Resume Writing Tips » 7 of the Most Overused Resume Words and Phrases of 2012

checklistLet’s lay to rest the worn out, tired resume words and phrases that every job seeker seemed to utilize in 2012. Be sure when you’re getting your resume together for your 2013 job search that you avoid these generic, vague terms that make you sound just like everyone else versus someone who stands out from the crowd.


Accomplished — Rather than saying you’re accomplished, use quantifiable examples throughout the resume to show that you’re accomplished.

Excellent written and verbal skills or excellent communication skills — The written skills will be apparent in your resume and cover letter. The hiring manager will get a feel for your verbal skills when he or she calls you on the phone. That really isn’t something to brag about that will set you apart from the crowd anyway.

Detail-oriented — Show your detail-oriented nature by having in your possession a completely flawless application package and job search materials. There are far better keywords you could use that relate to the position you’re trying to obtain.

Proven experience or skilled in … — It is far more effective to state exactly what it is you did rather than to simply write that you have proven experience. For example, instead of writing: proven experience in developing and implementing XYZ, just say that you: developed and implemented XYZ. It is much more action-oriented and powerful.

Familiar with or knowledgeable in … — Terms like these make it sound like you barely know what you’re talking about. Either you know something or you don’t. Just tell them what you know—not that you’re familiar with it.

Successfully demonstrates …  — Again, with this phrase you’re just telling them about what you know or do instead of using action-oriented keywords and phrases to show how you’ve done XYZ successfully. Instead of beating around the bush, get right to the point and use quantifiable results.

Results-driven or results-oriented — Are you really driven by achieving results? Then just tell the employer about the results you’ve achieved. If you’re really that results-oriented, then you’ll have some numbers to back it up. Rather than vague, blanket statements, give the employer something specific and quantifiable that will knock his or her socks off.

Your resume’s job is to get the hiring manager’s attention and secure the interview. If your resume sounds exactly like the 100 other people that applied, you won’t stand out—and you won’t get a call-back. Instead, be specific; use quantifiable achievements throughout your resume, and utilize keywords and industry-related terms that apply specifically to the position you are trying to obtain.


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About the author

Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast

Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.

What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.

You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!

I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!


  1. Tui on January 16, 2013 at 2:28 am

    I totally agree with what u are suggesting here. Something I do but have not really written about the process so thanks Jessica.

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