Overused Buzzwords to Remove from Your Resume

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Resume writing is often perceived as the biggest challenge faced by job seekers.

As most recruiters spend only less than a minute to screen piles of resumes, what are the odds of yours getting noticed immediately?

Regardless of your background, there are standard dos and don’ts when drafting a resume that will help you land a job. However, many candidates tend to overlook those details as they follow the common resume templates.

There is only so much that you can share in a resume, your employment prospects all boil down to word choice. Don’t waste the precious space on your resume for words that don’t carry much weight.

Here are 10 resume buzzwords and phrases to avoid at all costs.


This self-proclaimed statement won’t do much to impress the employers. Unless it is stated in your recommendation letters or endorsed on your LinkedIn profile, hard-working is rather a subjective definition.

Alternative: Mention previous projects or tasks that you handled voluntarily.

Go-to person

Although it sounds like an obvious statement that indicates your level of expertise at your job, don’t just throw it in without any actual recognition. Being knowledgeable is one thing, a go-to person should be someone who is reliable too! 

Alternative: This quality is best measured through your ability to mentor others, do include any training session that you have conducted in the past as a proof.

Outside the box

The phrase “outside the box” contradicts itself as a creative word. There shouldn’t be any box in the first place. So cross off this phrase now!

Alternative: Put your creative talent into practice by visualising your resume (if applicable) or showcase your portfolio. You can also share unconventional thoughts and ideas during the interview. Don’t be afraid to suggest potential improvements to the hiring manager (just make sure you have done sufficient research). 


Attention to detail is a cliché that is losing its value in a resume. Recruiters can’t really assess this quality without a context. It’s a soft skill that can only be recognised as you approach a task.

Alternative: A rule of thumb is to make sure that your resume is mistake-free, especially typos and punctuation errors. Consistent writing style (usage of bullet lists, for instance) also expresses your attention to detail.

Quick learner

It’s more practical to showcase the knowledge that you have acquired while working rather than a plain word. 

AlternativeHead over to LinkedIn Learning Solutions to upgrade your knowledge, you’ll get certified for every new skill that you gain.


Who doesn’t admire an inspiring and dynamic person, right? But it’s a value that’s better portrayed in real life rather than on paper.

Alternative: Think of the impact that you have on your team or any situation that reflects your proactivity, share those stories with the recruiters during your interview. 


Counterintuitively, this characteristic doesn’t make a candidate stand out as many people assume. It’s the self-learning ability (as in being a quick learner) is one of the traits of a highly motivated person.

Alternative: Once again, you can refer to an actual (outstanding) achievement to highlight your self-motivation during the interview.

Work well under pressure

There’s actually nothing wrong with this statement, but it is not powerful enough to win employers. Similar to the above phrases, this is not backed by relevant “data”.

Alternative: If you handled a project with tight deadlines or faced issues that arise last minute, explain how you overcame those obstacles. It is up to the employer to evaluate if you can indeed perform well under pressure.

Other words and phrases to steer clear of:

  • Salary negotiable: If the information is considered common knowledge, remove it.
  • References upon request: You can provide the contacts of your references during/after the interview when asked.

Without the redundant buzzwords, your resume will instantly become more succinct and direct. It helps recruiters to skim for the right keywords to quickly assess your application’s suitability.

However, optimising a resume is no longer sufficient to survive the competition. Do check out these digital resumes to increase your likelihood of receiving an interview call!

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