“Highly qualified self-starter”: you’ve read that before

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Are you a creative problem solver? A hard-working team player? Apparently, so is everyone else according to a recent survey of hiring managers.

The most over-used phrases executives come across are “highly qualified”, “hard worker”, and “team player”, based on their responses to a recent OfficeTeam survey.

Asked “What is the most over-used or meaningless phrase you see on resumes?", the employers’ list also included “flexible”, “people person” and “self-starter”.

So what should you look for instead? Look for examples, not just buzzwords.

“I look for indications that the person can think rather than being told what to do,” Valerie Campbell, owner of Campbell Management Advisory Services, said. “This involves having some doer experience, supervisory experience, and some interesting project experience.”

Career networking site, LinkedIn, releases an annual list of the most overused words and phrases in members' LinkedIn profiles, and many of the terms in the top 10 are automatic turn-offs.

Accordingly, the top 10 terms that are most overused by professionals:

1. Extensive experience
2. Innovative
3. Motivated
4. Dynamic
5. Proven track record
6. Team player
7. Proactive
8. Skill set
9. Highly skilled
10. Entrepreneurial

  • M_Web on 2013-01-21 11:43:21 AM

    My favourite is seeing "Punctual" on a resume. Shouldn't it be a given that you would be on time?

  • bbb on 2013-01-21 12:11:02 PM

    I love when they say that that they thrive in a "fast-paste" environment.

  • kb on 2013-01-21 1:09:14 PM

    One of my all time favourites was the applicant for editorial work who claimed in his cover letter to have excellent "poof" reading skills.

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