9 terms that will ruin your resume

what not to saw in a resumeFrom the perspective of a hiring manager, most resumes and cover letters can quickly begin to blend together, the same words and phrases repeated over and over again reduce their meaning entirely. As a job seeker though, it is difficult to know how to stand out from the crowd and avoid language which may cause a recruiters eyes to glaze over. Below I have listed 9 words and terms to avoid, keeping your resume clean and enticing for the hiring managers who are bored with reviewing the same kind of documents over and over again:

“Salary Negotiable”

Unless strict salary guidelines are in place for a position, as is common for many government jobs, it is typically assumed that salary is negotiable. If you weren’t negotiable on salary, you wouldn’t be out seeking a job in the first place. Including this information on your resume is both superfluous and presumptuous. Don’t do it.

“Married with Children”

Avoid references to your personal life. It isn’t relevant, and could put hiring managers in the awkward position of knowing information they don’t need to know. Remember that your resume is a reflection of your professional history, not your personal background.

“High School”

If you have been in the work force for a few years or have any college experience at all under your belt, your high school information has no business on your resume. Hiring managers don’t care what your GPA was five years ago, and including it will only hint at a lack of maturity on your part.

“Transferable Skills”

This makes it seem as though you are attempting to convince a hiring manager to give you a shot at a job you aren’t qualified for. Even if that is the case, you don’t want to make it so obvious. Detailing out your past skill set is fantastic, but avoid trying to fluff those skills up by referring to them as “transferrable”.

“Hobbies/ Interests”

No matter what you may have heard back in school, these do not belong on your resume. Get rid of them. Talking with a hiring manager about a shared interest in sports during your interview is one thing. Including it on your resume is another.

“Problem-Solving Skills”

This is one of those terms that is too generic and could technically be claimed by anyone. Stick to skills that are unique to you and identify ways in which you contributed to a company in a quantifiable manner.


Starting a bulleted list off with the word “had” weakens everything which is about to come next, making it seem as though you are simply writing out a job description rather than detailing your dynamic set of skills. Swap “had” for the use of strong and active verbs instead, letting hiring managers see exactly what you are capable of.

“Highly Qualified”

This is the kind of fluffy language that doesn’t actually serve a purpose. Not to mention, it is so overused on resumes that it might just be a surefire way to annoy a hiring manager.

“Team Player”

Show this with your past experience rather than attempting to boil it down to two words. The words mean nothing if you can’t back them up with examples.

Visit Resumes Australia to learn more about how we can influence your career, from growing your networks to helping you develop clear goals and strategies. Alternatively, take advantage straight away of our services here.


kylie hammond

About Kylie Hammond
Executive Search Consultant, Head-Hunter, HR Consultant, Executive Career Coach, Expert Resume Writer & Executive Talent Agent.

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