Any HR professional will tell you how tiring it is to see a few overused words and phrases on tens of thousands of resumes. When reviewing someone’s resume, cover letters or other forms of communications, terms such as “motivated,” “results oriented,” and “problem solver” just sound empty.
Each year, LinkedIn compiles a list of most overused and most predictable words people use. For 2016, these words were:
- Track record
The problem is that a phrase like “problem solver” is limiting — it doesn’t give the reader a sense of how well you solve problems. It exemplifies what we call the “trust me syndrome,” where the person making the statement is basically asking the interviewer, “Trust me, I am a great problem solver,” all without providing any examples.
A well-crafted resume or cover letter should contain several examples from your own work or personal experiences that demonstrate that you are what you say you are. Instead of writing, “streamlined server systems to improve communications,” you should review The Seven Stories exercise you’ve completed and share a story that describes an actual project in which the result was a measurably improved communication system.
So, take a look at your resume or LinkedIn profile and see where you can turn these empty phrases into statements that really say something special about you. By following Step 2:Retool of the TFC 5-Step Method, TFC Members have differentiated themselves by using statements that truly speak to their skills and abilities.
After all, everyone likes to hear a good story!