Recently we discussed why resume clichés decidedly terrible. They bring literally no value to your application. Anyone can say them and prove that they are true. They are meaningless, terrible phrases that everyone uses, and by using the same exact phrases you do nothing to stand out from the 1,000 other applicants that are vying for the exact same role. . If everyone is wearing a black shirt, and you want to get noticed in the crowd, you don’t by a black shirt. You buy a pink shirt or you go naked.
In Chris Osborne’s blog post he addressed this very point. Resumes and LinkedIn profiles (which read like resumes, in many ways), are filled to the brim with annoying job clichés that bring no obvious value to the reader. His blog post is worth checking out. We would, however, like to address one small area a little bit. From the post:
I am an effective and enthusiastic writer using communication skills to drive results, in a hard-working and dependable manner. My 20+ years experience helps me multi-task so I can think out-of-the-box about being a terrific people person.
I am motivated to encourage my readers and clients to find creative and fun ways to express themselves in resume and profile writing. In general, my clients and readers discover that following some simple, but effective, tips and suggestions increases the readability and effectiveness of their resumes, and they usually see an increase in traffic across their social media profiles.
It should be obvious why the “after” is clearly better. It’s unique, it’s specific, and it’s engaging. The “after” paragraph is exponentially better than the original. Osborne does a great job showing how one paragraph can be completely rewritten to essentially say the same thing, but in a unique and interesting way.
The only thing worth addressing, however, is this statement:
What is easier? Saying that I have “excellent communication skills”? Or explaining exactly what that means. For instance, do my communications skills persuade? Inform? Motivate? Close deals? Educate? And if my communication skills do one or more of these important things, what type of results have I delivered?
Don’t forget – it is not just a matter of looking for better, more specific words. That is only a part of it. You also want to make sure that you use your accomplishments. Of everything you can put on your resume and cover letter, your accomplishments are 100% unique to you.
Using the above “after” example by Mr. Osborne, he has effectively communicated his motivations and goals. That’s great. The thing to remember, though, is that other people can still use that exact same paragraph and have it be true to them. While Osborne chose a unique, more specific phrasing, he does not mention any accomplishments that are unique to him.
Nor should he, necessarily. This is not to say his paragraph isn’t perfect for what it is designed for – to attract visitors on social media profiles. When you are writing your resume, though, don’t forget to use your accomplishments as often as possible. Only you accomplished the things you accomplished, but thousands of people can be “motivated to encourage their readers.”
Take Away Tips
- Avoiding clichés should be one of your top priorities.
- Your goal is to be unique and stand out from the crowd.
- Delve into specifics, in goals, skills, and accomplishments.