Writing a resume that stands out from among the crowd is frequently listed by job seekers as one of their most challenging tasks when they begin their search for finance jobs. Job seekers are often inundated with “resume rules,” such as keeping it limited to one page, having a clear and concise layout and providing specific but succinct information. Because resumes do tend to be short and leave little room for lengthy explanations, many people attempt to highlight their accomplishments by using flowery and descriptive language. While you definitely want your resume to “pop,” relying on overused words that are present on nearly every job application that lands on a hiring manager’s desk may not win you any points or get you noticed.
The good news is that there is a quick fix to this. By recognizing some of the most overused phrases and words, and replacing them with fresher descriptions, you can give your resume more life and set yourself apart from other applicants.
Phrases and Words to Avoid
When it comes to formulating descriptions, consider yourself as the hiring manager. If you were reading a stack of resumes, you may not be impressed with the below phrases:
Being “responsible” for something does not detail exactly what you did in your previous job role. Instead, consider more direct phrases, such as “implemented,” “carried out,” “supervised” and “delegated.” These phrases provide a little more specificity and insight into the exact roles that you performed in your job and give you more credibility and kudos for your level of experience.
Good communication skills
This phrase is a common request on most job applications, but incorporating it into your resume when you could provide more detail and insight may be a waste of precious space. Instead of explaining that you have good communication skills, it may be more impactful to provide a line that demonstrates your communication skills. For example, you might say that you “interface with several department heads on a regular basis,” or “serve as a liaison between clients, managers and fund accountants.” Being more specific about how you communicate can go further than simply telling hiring managers that you are able to communicate well.
Excellent, superb, effective, etc
Using soft descriptors fails to tell hiring managers what you really accomplished at the company. Instead of using generic and blanketed terms, consider action terms that show results. For example, instead of saying you “effectively managed the company’s budget,” jazz up the language by explaining that you “improved the company budget through the use of innovative expense reporting software.”
References available upon request
Time and again, job seekers make the mistake of placing this phrase at the bottom of their resumes. Not only does this take up precious space, but it’s already assumed that if hiring managers ask for a reference, a job seeker will be able to find one to speak on their behalf. Rather than placing this line on a resume, consider attaching a separate document with the contact information of three references.