Top 10 Overused Words To Delete From Your Resume

Top 10 Overused Words To Delete From Your Resume

Each year, LinkedIn analyses profiles of members to identify the most-overused terms. The conclusion? If you describe yourself as a responsible passionate expert committed to effective and creative strategy, you are officially so generic as to be unemployable.

Rejection picture from Shutterstock/Paul McKinnon

Here’s the full list of terms to avoid in resumes, profiles and anywhere else you’re trying to advance your career, based on Australian profiles:

  1. Responsible
  2. Strategic
  3. Effective
  4. Creative
  5. Innovative
  6. Expert
  7. Positive
  8. Passionate
  9. Driven
  10. Dynamic

As ever, the key lesson is to be specific. Don’t just call yourself “effective”: quantify and explain exactly what you did.

LinkedIn [via Business Insider]


  • I agree. I mean, if you want to appear creative and innovative, it is important to stand out from the crowd.

    Taking a responsible and strategic approach to the words in your resume can positively drive home your dynamic passion. I can definitely see this being an effective way to communicate your skills.

    And I would know. I’m an expert.

  • Just for the record, these articles seem so dumb. Making anyone think their success or failure seemingly hinges on whether they have a long or short name, or use certain fairly common (even in general usage) words from a document, with no context at all..

    It’s lowest common denominator stuff, and even then, in my opinion pretty bad blanket advice.

    .. ofcourse that’s assuming anyone actually reads this stuff and takes it to heart.

    • With resumes automatically turned into word-soup by agencies and HR departments of large companies, then unless Lifehacker has insight into their algorithms, any of this advice is suspect.

  • I work in web development where creative design, dynamically generated websites, and strategic results-driven content are part of the industry.

    The use of these words OUT OF CONTEXT is a bad thing, but if they describe what you do, because that’s what the industry is about, then they are fine.

  • I agree with Michael and Jason. These words can be fine in a CV, as long as they have appropriate context.

    Or you could do what many bloggers/writers do. Use a thesaurus. How many times has a blogger/writer used a less common term like vernacular? I’d be rich if I had a dollar for every time i’d seen an uncommon word used to enhance the credibility factor of an article, especially when it adds little value.

  • I think the problem is that everyone writes down things like ‘responsible’ so they really become meaningless.

    There seems little point writing down anything that is just a general positive rather than a specific personal attribute or achievement, the problem is that resume keyword scanning means that you have to hit all the buzz words.

    This article would be more useful if it road-mapped you an alternative strategy moving forward.

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