A buzzword is a fashionable, trendy word often used with the intention to impress. Of course, a resume is one place that you MUST be impressive, so the temptation is there to submit a resume full of those little gems; team player, hard worker, motivated, punctual, and more!
This person sounds impressive right?
Well, maybe to you and me, but not to a recruiter, hiring manager, or HR executive. They see hundreds of resumes each day and most of them do include these buzzwords. The problem with buzzwords is that, by definition, they are not unique words. They tell your audience nothing about your background, experience, value, and skills. These words take up space that could be better used giving examples of how you bring value to the company. Let’s take a look at a few of these buzzwords and give some more effective alternatives.
MOTIVATED: Great! You’re motivated! So is everyone else looking for a job. The question is; Will you stay motivated once hired? Will you be motivated on Friday afternoon to close that big sale or will you coast your way to 5:00 in order to begin your weekend? A better option: Give examples of your motivation in the past and the results you achieved. Did you win any awards? Accomplish anything that required initiative and motivation? Explain the specific situation.
EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE: This is vague. Just tell them how much experience you have; “5 years experience in sales”, “certified in HTML programming”, etc.
TEAM PLAYER: The minimum expectation for any new hire (or preschooler in the sandbox) is that they have the ability to work with others. If you are exceptional at working with or leading teams, then give examples of past success.
HARD WORKER: See above under “motivated”. The same applies here. Specifics and examples, using numbers to quantify results when possible, are the key.
SELF-MOTIVATED and PUNCTUAL: I would leave these out altogether. If you think it’s impressive that you don’t require micro-management to get things done and that you show up on time, then you are going to have problems finding and keeping a job. Being self-motivated and punctual is expected, not impressive.
When in doubt, always go for a specific example on a resume rather than a vague positive idea and use numbers to show results if you can. Hiring managers will remember someone using a well-written and concise achievement story while all of the “team players” will fade away.