Give Your Resume a Makeover: These 8 Phrases Must Go!

Resume writing has become a genre of its own, with its own jargon, expectations, and formatting. It’s also generated its own set of tired, cliché words and phrases that can cause hiring managers to lose interest—and your resume to fall to the bottom of the pile.

To improve your resume, strike these eight words and phrases in favor of more dynamic choices:

“References Available Upon Request”

Hiring managers already assume they can ask for your references if they want them. Delete this line and use the space to add another bullet point about your accomplishments.


As opposed to…what? Instead of claiming you’re “results-oriented,” provide an example of your results—expressed in quantifiable terms whenever possible.

“Leadership Skills”

According to LinkedIn, “leadership” was the #1 buzzword of 2016—which makes it almost meaningless. Get more traction from your resume by describing specific projects or teams you led and their results.

“Exceptional Communicator”

This one is not only cliché, it’s self-undermining. Demonstrate your exceptional communication skills with a seamless presentation of your abilities and accomplishments, not with hollow chatter about what an “exceptional communicator” you are.


Objectives are increasingly outdated, and they rarely tell hiring managers anything they want to know. Instead, consider a summary of your abilities and experience that upsells your best points.

“Responsibilities Include”

The hiring manager is less interested in what you were expected to do than in what you actually did. Skip “responsibilities” in favor of “accomplishments,” and just list them—no need to clutter up your resume with this header.


As Jedi Master Yoda said, “Do or do not. There is no try.” Skip what you attempted, and use that valuable resume real estate to talk about what you accomplished.

“Diploma, [Your High School]”

Unless your high school is directly relevant to the job (for instance, you’re applying to work in the same school system), leave it off your resume as soon as you have another educational credential or certification to replace it.

At THE RIGHT STAFF, LLC, our recruiters specialize in connecting qualified candidates to some of the best jobs and employers in the Roseville area, as well as within the Twin Cities. If you’re looking for a job, contact us today.

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