Does your resume have terms like “responsible for,” “helped with,” or “duties included”? Unless you’re referring to your hall monitor gig in the 5th grade or pet sitting, it’s time for an intervention.

I’m here to gently tell you this: These terms sound like someone put duct tape over your mouth, chained you to a desk with a metal ball, and demanded that you perform a set list of things between the hours of 9-5, Mondays through Fridays.

Even if that’s how you really feel about your job, it sure doesn’t make you sound marketable if you’re trying to get the heck out of dodge, does it?

I know there are hundreds of articles circulating that talk about resume do’s and don’ts.  But the reality is that many people are still making the same mistakes—whether they realize it or not. One of the biggest mistakes I see on resumes is a laundry list of tasks that sounds more like a job description than a compelling reason for a recruiter to pick up the phone to call you.

If you don’t care enough to at least try to sound impressive, why should they be impressed? Recruiters go through job descriptions every day. The last thing they want to do is read them back in the form of a resume.

Another mistake is the overuse of buzzwords. Terms like “best of breed,” “results-driven,” “go-getter,” and “team player,” were ranked by hiring managers as the top ten worst words to use in a resume, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey.

I can see why these words are used because they may actually apply.  The real problem is when there’s nothing else that backs up these claims. You’re supposed to get results and be a team player, or else why the heck would anyone want to hire you? It’s like giving yourself credit for taking a shower before leaving the house. That’s great…you should totally do that (insert slow clap). Now, what else can you offer?

You see: It’s not the terms themselves that are horrible. It’s the fact that these fillers are not thrillers. Filler terms say nothing exciting about your brand to make you stand out. They can actually make you look lazy when used in your resume as the Beyoncé of Destiny’s Child when they really should play the background like Kelly and Michelle.

It says you copied information from a job description or an outdated resume sample instead of taking the time to think about how your company benefits from having you as an employee.

It’s a marketing document that showcases your brand.” It should make you look good. You need to excite a recruiter so much that they want to know more about YOU.

If you can remove your name from your resume and easily replace it with the next person who has the same exact skills, you’re not doing your brand any justice.

The more filler content you have, the less you are making a stellar impression. Next time you look at your resume, see how much of the content is filler versus thriller. Here’s an example:

Filler: Responsible for creating a new business process to document internal procedures by being detail- oriented and thinking outside of the box.

Thriller: Implemented a new business process to document internal procedures, which reduced the learning curve for new hires and increased consistency within department.

Even though both examples are saying the same thing, the Thriller example has more depth and shows the results of creating a new business process. Don’t shortchange the impact you have in your role by focusing on what you think are keywords to a hiring manager.

If you really want to have a resume that makes a good impression, take the time to document how you add value in each role or hire someone to work through the process with you. Invest the time and effort to make sure your resume makes you look as good as you really are.

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Marietta Gentles Crawford
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Marietta Gentles Crawford

Writer + Personal Brand Strategist, Founder at MGC Ink
Marietta Gentles Crawford is a writer, personal brand strategist, and author of "From Nine to Thrive: A Guide to Building Your Personal Brand and Elevating Your Career." With over ten years' experience climbing through top corporate and government brands as a writer and trainer, her passion is inspiring professionals to dare mediocrity.
Marietta Gentles Crawford
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