How to replace the most overused phrases on a resume [Updated: 2019]

overused resume words to avoid

If you’re searching for your next job, updating your resume is a high priority. Thinking about what phrases to avoid that make recruiters cringe can be a challenging task. Let alone trying to find and replace them.

Good news, we’re here to help. Before you start sending job applications, here is the list of the top phrases that hiring managers want you to delete from your resume immediately. Plus, the phases you can add in their place.

Responsible for

When recruiters see the word “responsible for” on your resume, it comes off as a task that you didn’t perform on the job. To keep the recruiter engage with your application and show ownership at your job, try to replace “responsible for” with direct phrases. Removing the word will give insight and credibility to recruiters to understand the impact you’ve made on the job.

Here are a few examples of to replace “responsible for” with:

  • Implemented
  • Supervised
  • Delegated

Communication skills

While it’s essential to add relevant job description keywords to your resume, adding the word “communications skills” should not be one of them. Recruiters can tell when you’re trying to add their buzz words and fluff to the resume. To keep the hiring manager’s interest, explain one of the three communication types in more detail. According to the BusinessDictionary, they define communication skills into three types, “non verbal, verbal, and written.” Including one or all the three communication skills on your resume will help make it sound more natural and provide more context to your background.

Here are some words you can use in its place:

  • Composed
  • Interacted
  • Analyzed

[Bonus points: Sending a press clip or writing sample can prove you truly honed in on the skill.]

Soft descriptors phrases

Excellent, superb, and effective – are some examples of words that are dubbed as “soft descriptors.” When hiring managers see those words on your resume, it doesn’t present any new or differentiating information about your background. Using soft descriptors fail to tell the hiring managers what you accomplished at the company. If you identify a critical skill or job responsibility that the role possesses, share an accomplishment as an alternative to replace these words.

Here are words that hiring managers would expect you to replace “soft descriptors” with:

  • Revamped
  • Improved
  • Advanced

References available upon request

Avoid adding a list of references on your resume or the line “references available upon request.” It removes precious space off your resume and is information that’s expected later in the interview process. If you’re unsure where to include references, consider creating a separate document. That way, when a recruiter asks the question “May I have your references?” You will have the document ready to go.

Not sure what to add in its place? Here is information you can replace “reference available upon request” with:

  • Contact Info
  • Relevant job responsibilities and accomplishments

Self-promotional phrases

It might be challenging to get a job if you use “self-promotional” such as: experienced, results-driven, unique, best-of-breed, or expert, to name a few. While hiring managers want you to show passion towards the role, they care about your ability to perform it. So, instead of placing “self-promotional” phrases try to prove you qualification to do the job with concrete facts.

Here are a few phrases to replace “self-promotional” phrases with on your resume:

  • Increased/decreased
  • Achieved
  • Created
  • Under budget
  • Revenue/profits

Yes, this information can be daunting. Just remember – when you follow these tips this gives you a considerable head start among other candidates.

While you spend time updating your resume, you should also take a minute to update OneWire profile. Recruiters are bound to search you profile, and will help make it more searchable.