Words That Help or Hurt a Resume or Blog

resumeAccording to a 2014 CareerBuilder survey, 68% of hiring managers spend less than two minutes reviewing a resume, so it had better be filled with words they care to see, warns Debra Auerbach.

Boy, I couldn’t help thinking, is that ever true for blog content writing as well! In fact, according to Site Meter, the average reader spends just 96 seconds reading a blog.

Exactly what sort of words make employers cringe?  Words and terms that are vague, passive, and clichéd.  Employers would much rather see strong action words that highlight specific accomplishments.  Don’t use “I am” phrases, suggests Carina Chivulescu, director of human capital at The Expert Institute. Chivulescu prefers to see “I did” phrases, which tell her exactly what you were doing to bring value to previous employers.

Suggested action words include:

  • Achieved
  • Improved
  • Trained
  • Managed
  • Created
  • Resolved

Unfortunately, as a blog content writing trainer, I see a lot of the same sort of “fluffy stuff” on corporate blogs as Chivulescu sees on resumes, including

  • Best of breed (what does that even mean?)
  • Value added
  • Results-driven
  • Team player
  • Excellent customer service
  • Bottom-line oriented

“Instead of speaking in plain English, they (marketers) fill their conversations with overused jargon and buzzwords,” Carmine Gallow complains in Forbes.

Chivulescu sums it up neatly: “Employers (you may substitute ‘blog readers’) want to see words and phrases that clearly and succinctly define your skills, experience, and accomplishments.”

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