Writing a Resume? 6 Buzzwords to Avoid at All Costs

By Robert Half on April 21, 2015 at 1:00pm

When it comes to your resume, banish the buzzwords.

Connectitude. Possimpible. Linkativity. These buzzwords come from Barney Stinson, a character on How I Met Your Mother. It’s unlikely that you’re using such ridiculous terms when writing your resume. But maybe you are using clichés that aren’t doing you any favors either.

Here’s why the words you use on your resume are crucial: A CareerBuilder survey found that 17 percent of hiring managers spend 30 seconds or less looking at a resume. As such, you need to make your points quickly, and you need to make them well. Hackneyed buzzwords and clichés won’t catch a hiring manager’s eye. So let’s take a look at six terms job seekers should avoid when writing a resume — along with better ways to shine.


This former scientific term, turned business jargon, won’t score you many points. Instead, give employers one good example of how you rallied the team to unite in producing a stellar outcome.

“Team player

Leave this yawn-inducer off when writing a resume. Everyone else is using it, so it certainly won’t stand out. Try highlighting a time when you worked with colleagues to meet a specific benchmark. That says more about your capabilities.


“Hard worker”

Putting a lot of energy into your career is admirable. But this tired phrase doesn’t tell prospective employers what you actually do with that energy. Describe a situation when you helped the organization by going beyond your job description.

“Problem solver”

Here’s how to solve the problem posed by this bad buzzword: Clearly illustrate a time when you applied critical thinking to help your employer overcome a challenge.


Yes, flexibility is a selling point. But be sure to provide details. For instance, how did you adapt to a major organizational change — or pick up on new duties when a team member left suddenly?

“Best of breed” 

Please don’t make yourself sound like a prized beagle by using this term. Let the details of your resume make clear that you have the necessary skills, talent and attributes that make up the ideal employee.

In addition to avoiding these tired terms, be succinct. Just as hiring managers will gloss over a buzzword-heavy resume, they’re also likely to take a pass on one that’s excessively long. Strike the perfect balance, and you’ll be well on your way to a job interview.

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