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5 Words Never to Include in Your Résumé

We have all heard the saying, “You’ll never get a second chance to make a first


This is perhaps most true when it comes to a job résumé. While many companies use screening software to initially evaluate a candidate’s résumé, recruiters are largely the first people you must impress.

“The language or content of a résumé can definitely tank a job seeker’s chances of landing their dream job,” says Jamie Hichens, Senior Talent Acquisition Partner at Glassdoor. “You have a limited amount of time to catch a recruiter or hiring manager’s eye – use it wisely.”

Filling precious résumé space with verbose language or can certainly backfire. Therefore, we tapped a group of HR and résumé experts to give us the inside scoop on the 5 words and terms to never include in your résumé. Scan your CV to make sure you’re not guilty of including these red-flagged terms:

1. Unemployed

“Your employment dates already show if you’re unemployed – you don’t need to highlight it,” says Hichens.

2. Hardworking or hard worker

“We hope you are a hardworking individual who shows up to work on time and is self-motivated, but you don’t need to call it out,” she adds.

3. ‘Ambicious’

“Misspelled words [like this one] should never appear on your résumé,” says Elizabeth Harrison, Client Services Manager and Senior Recruitment Partner at Decision Toolbox. “Read your résumé numerous times, print it and take a pen to it and have someone else read it. One misspelled word can completely eliminate an otherwise strong candidate from consideration because it demonstrates lack of attention to detail.”

4. Objective

“Is your career trajectory pretty straightforward and lacking major gaps between jobs? Then you probably don’t need an objective statement,” contends Glassdoor writer Caroline Gray. “If your résumé is self-explanatory, there’s no need to take up valuable space with anything that’s redundant. Also, if you’re submitting a cover letter with your résumé, that should be more than sufficient in addressing your objective for your application.

5. I, she, he, him, her

“Talking in 1st or 3rd person reads weird – did someone write your résumé for you? Just state the facts,” says Hichens. For example write, “Led a team of 4” not “I led a team of four people” or “Jamie led a team.”

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