Words to Watch in Professional Resumes

You may have spent hours, weeks, or months on writing that perfect resume – but have you written it as tight as possible?  In years of resume writing for folks in the commercial world, military transitioning to civilian, or for government services applicants there are certain words and phrases that are unnecessary or redundant. 

Labels.  Commercial resumes do not need labels for information in the point of contact section at the top of the resume.  Everyone knows that 757-###-#### is a phone number. Everyone knows that FirstNameLastName@nameofISP.com is an email address, so why label them? Labels can potentially gum up the parsing engine in the Automatic Tracking System (ATS) when the system moves the data to a SQL database. 

Jr., Sr., III, formal degree or certification initials (after name).  Unless your son or father are looking for a job in the exact same industry at the same time, don’t bother adding the Jr. or Sr. after your name on the resume.  You can add those initials to the official legal paperwork once you are offered employment.  All the certification designations and formal degrees listed after the resume owner’s name may muck up the ATS’s parsing process.  The exceptions to this general rule would be Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Juris Doctorate (J.D.), or Professional Engineers (P.E.), which are headhunted specifically for their degrees or certifications.  

Stakeholder.  This cliché buzzword literally means everyone that touches a business or entity – employees, managers, stockholders, clients, and vendors.  No one has a task or responsibility that affects every single one of these with equal value.  Instead of noting tasks affecting ‘stakeholders,’ mention the results for those directly affected, e.g., direct supervisors or employees within a specific department.

Initiative. If one was tasked with an ‘initiative’ – this is a subjective word, meaning you had intentions to do something – but did you do it?  Instead, write that you directed, managed, supervised, or developed a project, and the “results were …”

On a weekly basis; on a daily basis.  This phrase can be reduced to one word – weekly or daily.  Resumes should not be focused on daily task minutiae – concentrate on the more important weekly or monthly task descriptions with direct relevance to the company’s strategic business goals and objectives.

Selected to serveRequested by. Military use these phrases to highlight a person uniquely chosen above others. But, they are passive wording.  Instead, use an active verb to showcase what was done ‘after being chosen’ for a specific task or responsibility, e.g., directed a (project) for (supervisor’s job titles) resulting in (name the goals reached of the task assigned).

 In regards to.  This is a wordy, space filler phrase.  Don’t use ‘regarding’ as a replacement word, either.  Alternatively, describe what was done specifically.  For example: “Prepare memos for (ABC) in regards to …” can be replaced with:  “Create reports for (ABC information) submitted to (XZY) for monthly subcommittee meetings.”

Executed.  Avoid dangling modifiers.  Once client had used the word to describe what she had done to support women via a project she managed. But, the words used after ‘executed’ indicated she had ‘killed them’ within the sentence meaning and structure. Ensure the words following the descriptor ‘executed’ are carefully constructed to indicate working relationships to a project or task.

Typing – XX wpm. I see resumes noting the job seeker’s speed for typing (XX wpm) or an ability to use 10-key calculators.  This applicant skill is fine for clerical, receptionist, or data-entry jobs. For those with aspirations for supervisory or management jobs, these basic skills are assumed. The job seeker should be able to type fast enough to compile memos, letters, and write policies or reports at a productive speed. Avoid minor details and save the white space for more important and relevant information about skills and experience.  It is better to describe unique technical and computer skills for a competitive advantage.

Be careful about over-wording your resume or demonstrating a lack of conciseness.  The tighter the resume, the richer the wording, and the more impressive your experience and skill sets will read.

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Words to Watch in Professional Resumes

You may have spent hours, weeks, or months on writing that perfect resume – but have you written it as tight as possible?  In years of resume writing for folks in the commercial world, military transitioning to civilian, or for government services applicants there are certain words and phrases that are unnecessary or redundant. 

Labels.  Commercial resumes do not need labels for information in the point of contact section at the top of the resume.  Everyone knows that 757-###-#### is a phone number. Everyone knows that FirstNameLastName@nameofISP.com is an email address, so why label them? Labels can potentially gum up the parsing engine in the Automatic Tracking System (ATS) when the system moves the data to a SQL database. 

Jr., Sr., III, formal degree or certification initials (after name).  Unless your son or father are looking for a job in the exact same industry at the same time, don’t bother adding the Jr. or Sr. after your name on the resume.  You can add those initials to the official legal paperwork once you are offered employment.  All the certification designations and formal degrees listed after the resume owner’s name may muck up the ATS’s parsing process.  The exceptions to this general rule would be Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Juris Doctorate (J.D.), or Professional Engineers (P.E.), which are headhunted specifically for their degrees or certifications.  

Stakeholder.  This cliché buzzword literally means everyone that touches a business or entity – employees, managers, stockholders, clients, and vendors.  No one has a task or responsibility that affects every single one of these with equal value.  Instead of noting tasks affecting ‘stakeholders,’ mention the results for those directly affected, e.g., direct supervisors or employees within a specific department.

Initiative. If one was tasked with an ‘initiative’ – this is a subjective word, meaning you had intentions to do something – but did you do it?  Instead, write that you directed, managed, supervised, or developed a project, and the “results were …”

On a weekly basis; on a daily basis.  This phrase can be reduced to one word – weekly or daily.  Resumes should not be focused on daily task minutiae – concentrate on the more important weekly or monthly task descriptions with direct relevance to the company’s strategic business goals and objectives.

Selected to serveRequested by. Military use these phrases to highlight a person uniquely chosen above others. But, they are passive wording.  Instead, use an active verb to showcase what was done ‘after being chosen’ for a specific task or responsibility, e.g., directed a (project) for (supervisor’s job titles) resulting in (name the goals reached of the task assigned).

 In regards to.  This is a wordy, space filler phrase.  Don’t use ‘regarding’ as a replacement word, either.  Alternatively, describe what was done specifically.  For example: “Prepare memos for (ABC) in regards to …” can be replaced with:  “Create reports for (ABC information) submitted to (XZY) for monthly subcommittee meetings.”

Executed.  Avoid dangling modifiers.  Once client had used the word to describe what she had done to support women via a project she managed. But, the words used after ‘executed’ indicated she had ‘killed them’ within the sentence meaning and structure. Ensure the words following the descriptor ‘executed’ are carefully constructed to indicate working relationships to a project or task.

Typing – XX wpm. I see resumes noting the job seeker’s speed for typing (XX wpm) or an ability to use 10-key calculators.  This applicant skill is fine for clerical, receptionist, or data-entry jobs. For those with aspirations for supervisory or management jobs, these basic skills are assumed. The job seeker should be able to type fast enough to compile memos, letters, and write policies or reports at a productive speed. Avoid minor details and save the white space for more important and relevant information about skills and experience.  It is better to describe unique technical and computer skills for a competitive advantage.

Be careful about over-wording your resume or demonstrating a lack of conciseness.  The tighter the resume, the richer the wording, and the more impressive your experience and skill sets will read.

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