Great Resumes Fast » Best Resume Writer » Hiring Managers Expose the Top 17 WORST Resume Terms

2200+ hiring maworst resume wordsnagers and HR professionals recently surveyed by the Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder revealed the top 17 WORST terms a job seeker can use on their resumes.  I’m not surprised by their list; I’ve been harping on many of these terms for years.  This certainly confirms what I’ve been saying based on my 12+ years of experience as an HR manager.  I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who thinks these terms fall miserably short.  So grab your resume … and your red pen … and let’s make some immediate corrections!


1. Best of breed: 38 percent

2. Go-getter: 27 percent

3. Think outside of the box: 26 percent

4. Synergy: 22 percent

5. Go-to person: 22 percent

6. Thought leadership: 16 percent

7. Value add: 16 percent

8. Results-driven: 16 percent

9. Team player: 15 percent

10. Bottom-line: 14 percent

11. Hard worker: 13 percent

12. Strategic thinker: 12 percent

13. Dynamic: 12 percent

14. Self-motivated: 12 percent

15. Detail-oriented: 11 percent

16. Proactively: 11 percent

17. Track record: 10 percent

The problem with all of these is that they fail to show what you actually did or contributed.  In addition, these are terms that a vast majority of job seekers utilize on their resumes.  When everyone uses the same terms, then it fails to differentiate anyone.  Eventually, all job seekers start looking and sounding the same—and it becomes difficult for the hiring manager to determine why they should interview you over another candidate.

We work with job seekers every day to build their resumes from the ground up—without the use of overused resume terms and generic resume templates that cause them to blend in with the herd of other candidates. Instead, we create powerful, brand-driven resumes that rapidly deliver increased resume response rates. Interested?  You can find out more here:


3 Secrets to Interview-Winning Cover Letters

PS. I’d love to meet you on Twitter here.

You can read the rest of the CareerBuilder survey here.

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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!

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