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5 Phrases That Should Never Make Its Way To Your Resume

Hunting for a new job? Or planning to return to the workforce after a career break? If so, you need to craft your resume with a healthy streak of originality. A well-crafted and relevant resume can describe you well and make you stand out. So, let’s take a look at some words or phrases that should be avoided to develop a successful resume.

1. Hard working and focused

Every employer loves to hire hardworking and focused employees. Though ‘hard-working’ and ‘focused’ are your positive traits, saying it straight on your resume doesn’t prove anything. Every resume carries such words as no one likes to call themselves a clock-watcher. So, instead of being vague, describe your work ethic originally and differently. Allow them to get the sense of your strong work ethic. Talk about your accomplishments and the tough projects you have managed. These points will demonstrate your diligence, grit, and patience. If you have no prior job experience, you can mention about the extracurricular activities you undertook to prove yourself.

2. Proven track record

There is no doubt that your previous track record is an important point in your resume. It shows your value addition to past employees. But, don’t just say you have a proven and excellent track record. Prove it! Make it more specific by including statistics.

3. Thought leadership

Anyone can just say they have this ‘thought leadership’ trait, but not everyone can prove it. Let’s say your former company was about to lose a potential client due to some issue, but you put on a charm offensive to retain them. Mention this point. This will showcase your relation-building and negotiate skills. Think of such instances and quote them as an example in your resume. Let the hiring person know how your soft skills can be a USP. Point out times when your presentations and training modules helped your colleagues to overcome all odds. If you are a fresher, you can mention about the initiatives taken by you in college and school.

4. Strategic Thinker

Though ‘strategic thinker’ is an impressive phrase, it’s quite overused. There are a number of resumes that carry this vague phrase. Soft skills are difficult to describe verbally. But, instead of labelling yourself as a ‘strategic thinker’, quote an example of times when you implemented a strategy to solve problems. Give specific example from your previous jobs on how you planned a course of action to accomplish a specific target.

5. Self-motivated

Self-praising words like ‘self-motivated and ‘dynamic’ are overused in resume. These phrases do not prove anything and are worthless without any added facts. Hence, you should skip this phrase and talk about the initiatives you had taken in your previous jobs. Include more action words in your resume such as ‘developed’, ‘created’ and ‘improved’ etc. Explain specifically what you did. The explanation should show your passion towards your work.


To conclude, get rid of fogeyish phrases from your resume. This will make your resume look impressive.  Using action verbs, don’t be too generic and add specificity to your resume.