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Proofing Your Resume? Avoid These 6 Terms

Creating a resume is one of the most important steps you’ll take as a job seeker. More and more companies, especially in the 21st century, are now foregoing the traditional means of filling out an application in favor of printed or digital resumes, and it’s up to the individual job seeker to adapt to these recent trends. However, one of the most common mistakes in resume writing occurs when the writer attempts to fluff their profile with words that are antiquated, superfluous or otherwise frowned upon. In order to enhance your resume and deliver your point in a clear and concise manner, here is a brief list of some words to avoid when writing your next resume.

Detail Oriented

Obviously paying attention to detail is a desirable trait, but it has been so overused on resumes that it has lost all meaning. Instead of describing yourself as detail oriented, try to use that space to demonstrate what you have achieved through your immaculate attention to detail. Describing your achievements, rather than listing buzzwords, is a surefire way to draw the reader’s attention immediately and set your resume apart from the crowd.


Again, while hardworking is certainly a great trait to have, it’s just unnecessary. Instead, try to explain exactly how your hard work has paid off, whether that’s through career achievements, advancements or milestones.

Highly Qualified

This phrase is definitely one to avoid. The word “highly” is certainly quite subjective, and you probably wouldn’t be submitting your resume if you weren’t qualified for the position in the first place. Phrases like this do nothing more than fill up valuable space that could be put to better use. Alternately, try to highlight specific qualifications. Any certifications, awards or other forms of professional recognition are much more valuable than using vague phrases and buzzwords.


According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word skillful literally means “having or showing skill.” Since everybody has something that they do well, it is safe to say that everybody is skillful. In fact, many animals are skillful as well. Instead of using such a vague word, list some specific skills. Finally, make sure these skills pertain to the position you are applying for. Listing specific skills won’t do you a bit of good if those traits do not relate to the role in question.


Everybody is motivated to some extent. Albeit some are more motivated than others, and some are motivated by different things, but everyone has a certain amount of motivation. In fact, you’ve already demonstrated your motivation by writing and submitting your own resume in the first place.

Avoid Unnecessary Phrases

One of the main points of a resume is to present your professional profile in a reader-friendly and straightforward fashion. To this extent, always avoid using phrases such as “salary negotiable” or “references available upon request.” These caveats, especially the latter, are really a given. If an employer wants to see some references, they’ll ask; whether you’ve specifically given them the go-ahead or not.

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