Most people can’t write a resume or cover letter. They can’t. They’re terrible. Ask your friends if you can borrow their resume and cover letter sometime. Seriously – do it. Just ask. Tell them it’s for a project you are working on, or tell them it’s so you can use it as a template. Then read it. They’re terrible. You’ll look at it and wonder how they ever managed to find a job. They probably bribed someone.
The primary reason that these applicant documents are terrible is because they are filled with clichés. Clichés are littered over every single one of these documents. Clichés are any line that anyone can say. They are phrases that have no meaning or proof. Let’s look at 5 common resume and cover letter clichés for reference.
- “Goal Oriented”
This means nothing. This is the type of statement you read in a profile on Match.com and think to yourself “Hey! She/He is talking about me!” because everyone is goal oriented. Everyone. People have goals, and they are oriented to getting those goals. It means nothing.
- “Good Communication Skills”
“My name Unga Bunga. Me talk good. Be good employee. Me make good coffee and do job. You hire Unga Bunga for job so Unga Bunga make money. Buy clothes for hot wife.” Saying you have good communication skills is like listing “I know how to use words to form sentences” as an accomplishment on your resume.
- “Hard Worker”
Hard worker. As compared to what? A soft worker? A worker that spends most of their time writing soliloquies about flower pedals instead of completing their projects? Everyone works hard, and those that don’t work hard lie about it and say they work hard. This is another meaningless statement.
- “Team Player”
On the other hand, you could not be a team player. When you play basketball, you like to pass the ball to yourself over and over again by throwing it up in the air and catching it. They say you travelled but what do they know?
- “Leadership Skills”
This is a polysyllabic way of saying “I can talk loudly.” Here’s a question to ask yourself: What are leadership skills anyway? Bossing people around? Making decisions your subordinates disagree with? Scheduling meetings where nothing is accomplished? Why is this even considered a good thing?
Each of the examples above represent a statement that anyone can say about themselves and claim is true. When you write your resume and cover letter, you need to look for things that make you unique. Discuss specific accomplishments that actually showcase some type of ability or achievement. Don’t mate statements on your resume – show facts. By giving unique examples, you can set your resume, cover letter, and Match.com profile apart.
Take Away Tips
- Avoid clichés