Careers >> Browse Articles >> Resume Advice


10 Words and Phrases That Can Ruin a Resume

10 Words and Phrases That Can Ruin a Resume

Charles Purdy, Monster+Hot Jobs senior editor

5. “Problem-solving skills”
You know who else has problem-solving skills? Monkeys. Dogs. Mice. I once saw a YouTube video of an octopus that figured out how to open a jar. On your resume, stick to skills that require a human.

6. “Detail-oriented”
So, you pay attention to details. Well, so does everyone else. Don’t you have something unique to tell the hiring manager? (Plus, putting this on your resume only makes that accidental typo in your cover letter or resume all the more comical.)

7. “Hard-working”
Have you ever heard the term “Show; don’t tell”? This is where that might apply. Anyone can call himself or herself a hard worker. It’s a lot more convincing if you describe situations in which your hard work benefitted an employer (and use concrete details).

8. “Team player”
See the preceding comment about showing instead of telling. There are very few jobs that don’t involve working with someone else. If you have relevant success stories about collaboration, put them on your resume. Talk about the kinds of teams you worked on, and how you succeeded.

9. “Proactive”
This is a completely deflated buzzword. Also, again, show; don’t tell.

10. “Objective”
This term isn’t always verboten, but you should use it carefully. If your objective is to get the job that you’ve applied for, there’s no need to spell that out on your resume with its own heading. The “Objective” section of a resume is usually better replaced by a summary of your background and achievements, and a description of what you have to offer an employer. An exception might be if you haven’t applied for a specific job and don’t have a lot of experience that speaks to the position you’d like to achieve.

What are your least favorite resume terms? What creative ways have you found to talk about your achievements? Let us know in the Comments section (and like us on Facebook to get updates with resume tips).

This article was originally published on

Find the right campus or online art or design program for you!