Careers advice in Australia blog

5 resume tips in Australia | Acecis

9 Words and Phrases Never to Include in Your Resume

You should know that most recruiters in the Australian job market will spend an average of 30 seconds or less scanning over a resume before deciding if it showcases a worthy candidate or not.

This is because most recruiters are inundated with resumes in their search for the right person.

Things like an ugly format, poor grammar, typos or mismatched font styles are red flags in resumes leading them to be quickly scrapped. For those that pass though, they’re not safe yet as poor diction can also mean your resume is thrown to the bin.

So, here are 9 words and phrases to avoid when writing your resume.

1. Objective statement

The word ‘Objective’ refers to what the job seeker is looking for in a position and is seen as an outdated term for the today’s job market. Instead job recruiters are looking for what a candidate can bring to the position and the company.

We recommend a short career profile summary as your introduction that guides the recruiter through relevant skills, qualities and achievements.

A well-written introduction can be just the hook you need get the recruiter considering you for a role.

2. “Highly-Qualified” and other inflated remarks

Terms like ‘highly-qualified’, ‘very skilled’ and ‘self-motivated’ are among a set of adjectives that can make you seem less qualified or skilled than what you actually are.

Instead of such inflated terms, we recommend to let your qualifications or volunteer work speak for itself. Volunteer work especially can show your level of motivation and even passion for the line of work you would like to be in.

3. Clichés: “Team Player” or “Hard worker”

Try to avoid clichés like ‘team player’ or ‘hard worker’ as these types of attributes are expected of anyone in most positions. Instead of using phrases like the ones above, we recommend describing some of your more quantifiable achievements.

Tell the recruiter about achievements that can be conveyed in numbers, percentages or profit, as it will clearly show what type of an asset you could be if given the role.

4. Verbs that don’t fit the sentence

We see a lot of people use dressed up verbs in places where simpler words are more effective, such as ‘utilised’ instead of ‘use’.

Keep it simple. Most recruiters can tell if you’re dressing up a sentence to make it sound more important than what it actually is. The simple route is usually the best one.

5. Proactive and other Buzzwords

‘Proactive’, ‘hard worker’ and ‘problem-solving skills’ are some of the buzzwords to avoid on your resume as they don’t actually describe you and what you can bring to the company. Again, words like these are expected of most people.

We find that replacing buzzwords with terms from the job listing relevant to your skillset and work history will always help flesh out what you can bring to a company.

6. “Responsible for …” and “Experience in …”

Recruiters begin to turn away when they see the part of your resume that starts with ‘responsible for …’ or ‘experience in …’ Both of which are then followed by a list of things that are usually part of that role regardless of you being in it or not.

We recommend changing a phrase like ‘responsible for’ into action verbs like ‘coordinating’, ‘managing’, ‘creating’ and other decisive verbs.

And for ‘experience in’, we recommend describing your background in terms of achievements. Changes like these will do wonders to strengthen your resume.

7. “References available upon request”

Another outdated term that is now mandatory for most employers. ‘References available upon request’ takes up valuable real estate on your resume.

Instead, we recommend utilising this space on your resume to discuss any personal achievements, volunteer work or accomplished personal projects.

8. Past tense: ‘Was’ or ‘Became’

Make sure to avoid past tense verbs like ‘was’ or ‘became’ among others as they neglect to adequately show the reader your work history.

Stick to action verbs instead. An online dictionary or thesaurus can help in spots like this. So don’t shy away from using them.

9. Unnecessary facts

Imagine you get a resume that looks great, reads well, but sounds terrible for the role because it is saturated in unnecessary facts.

It’s always a smart idea to tailor your resume to the job description so that your work history, skills and achievements align with what the company is looking for.

You wouldn’t believe the number of resumes we see that show facts about the candidate that are hardly relevant to the jobs that the candidate is applying to.

Need Help With Your Resume?

We hope the above list helps in tailoring your resume into something an Australian recruiter wants to read. We know how tough the Australian job market can be, so please feel free to contact us if you want an independent assessment of your resume.

We wish you all the best in job search

Careers Team @ ACECIS

2 Responses

  1. Afsal Mansuri

    Dear Naren,

    Hope you are doing good.

    I have migrated from India in the month of march 2017.

    I am a Mechanical gradute with 8+ years of experience.

    Trying to get a job in the local market but no luck till date.

    Please advice.

    Thanks & appreciat

    1. Naren Chellappah
      Naren Chellappah

      Hi Asfal, welcome to Australia. I just had a long chat to a C++ developer who migrated here in January 2017 and he has had just one interview! It’s a tough market in some areas.

      It would be great to have a look at your resume so I can diagnose where the issues are. Feel free to send it via this page:

      Thanks. I look forward to seeing your resume and providing you with some advice.


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