Any experienced hiring manager will tell you that there are many words people overuse on their resume. Overused (or tough to quantify) descriptions, phrases or skills that aren’t so impressive should be avoided.

With the help of resume optimization or high quality resume services, your resume can be a clear, concise document that makes a positive first impression. A well-written resume communicates your skills and strengths accurately, and makes it easy for the reader to find information. To make your resume stand out, definitely skip any overused jargon or tired, meaningless phrases that make someone want to stop reading it.

Focus on creating a resume that accurately describes who you are as a professional while highlighting your achievements and accomplishments. Our experienced resume writers recommend avoiding the words, phrases and sections below.

1. “References Upon Request”

It’s understood that every candidate should be prepared to provide references; on a resume, this statement is redundant, and does not provide any value to the person reading it.. If a hiring manager wants to contact your references, they will ask for them!

2. The Objective

Every recruiter and hiring manager who takes the time to read your resume knows that you’re looking for a job. After all, you’ve either applied for a specific position, or someone has asked you to send them your resume. Instead of giving up valuable space on your resume stating that you are looking for a job, consider including a well-written professional profile section that engages the reader (and entices them to read the full document).

3. “Helped”

If you’re adding an achievement or responsibility to your resume, avoid using weak adjectives to describe your efforts. Instead, consider stronger words like, “led,” “directed,” “piloted,” “implemented” or “managed.” These words have a stronger impact than words like “helped” or “assisted” because they imply that you made a passive contribution. Like most clients, they understate their efforts, so this is probably not true! It’s also important to include instances when you coordinated or contributed to a project or business initiative because these examples show that you’re reliable and collaborative (along with a thorough explanation of what you did).

4. Superlatives

Try not to use words that imply that you are boastful or too self-confident. Words like “great,” and “superior” are hard to quantify (unless they’re from a third party, such as on a performance review). You probably can be described as great and superior in a lot of situations, but beware that these words may turn off someone reading your resume. Instead of “great” and “superior,” consider telling the reader how or why you excel in a certain area, such as explaining that you used your time management skills to balance five major projects on time, within the allotted budget and to the client’s specifications.

5. Rethink Success

If you have included an achievement on your resume, the person reading it assumes you were successful. Instead of plainly stating that you were successful in a certain area, try to quantify and/or expand on it. Present numbers, percentages or achievements that make your contribution, knowledge or accomplishment easy to understand. For example, instead of saying that you successfully met your sales quota, state that you achieved 111% of your annual sales quotas in 2018 and 2019.

With the help of resume optimization and resume services, you have the power to make your resume stand out. Working with an experienced resume writer is a sound investment because their knowledge and expertise makes you more marketable in a competitive job market (and can take you one step closer to achieving your career goals).


The Write Approach has experience supporting clients in different industries: