Written by, Cheryl Nathan, Director of HR Services

    I recently read an HR blog titled “Rethinking Resume Buzzwords” by Eileen Mager. Since I just recently plowed through hundreds of Administrative Assistant applicant resumes (as part of our HR Staffing and Recruiting services), I found this blog post interesting. Eileen quoted a recently released list (from LinkedIn) of the 10 most overused buzzwords and phrases found in its 85 million member profiles (similar to online resumes).

    1. Extensive experience
    2. Innovative
    3. Motivated
    4. Results-oriented
    5. Dynamic
    6. Proven track record
    7. Team player
    8. Fast-paced
    9. Problem solver
    10. Entrepreneurial

    The debate that followed in her blog was; to use or not to use (these buzzwords).  The questions that I have are:

    • Do too many buzzwords appear like the applicant is exaggerating?
    • Do they give off the appearance that the applicant isn’t an “original thinker” – just cutting and pasting from a template?


    • Are the buzzwords necessary to stand out in the initial employer search?
    • Do they help when being screened by resume screening software programs?

    HR Staffing and Recruiting

    The HR comments/opinions that followed this post varied – but here’s my take on it… Go ahead and use the buzzwords IF, and only if, you have specifics to back it up. Don’t just say you have a “proven track record” in reducing turnover – tell me that you reduced turnover in your organization by 12% by implementing a new Employee Appreciation Program that you developed. Don’t just say that you are a “team leader” – tell me that you led the team that transitioned the company from an in-house payroll system to ADP.

    Also, make it look “pretty” – formatting and layout go a long way.  As a veteran of HR staffing and recruiting, one of the most important factors to me is… do not misspell words! Use spell check and then go back again (and again) and find anything that spell check missed. If I find a misspelled word in a resume – I immediately put it in the “no” pile – no matter what experience you have. If you can’t show me attention to detail in your resume (that you prepared on your own time and not under pressure in a work environment), then I have serious hesitations about your quality of work if I hire you. And check your verb tenses – is your resume going to be written in past tense or present tense?  Pick one and stick with it – don’t jump back and forth.  Consistency shows detail.

    So there you go…my two cents on resume writing – thanks Eileen for your blog idea inspiration.

    We’d love to hear from you!  Please share your personal resume stories. What are some of the best resumes you’ve come across?