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Avoid Resume mistakes

9 Cliches & Buzzwords To Absolutely Avoid In Your Resume

The job market is more competitive these days than it was ever before with several equally qualified candidates for the same job role. In June 2020, we surveyed 20,000 tech professionals in India in June 2020 to decipher how they prep for a job search in a super competitive environment and found that they are focussed on honing their soft skills like resume writing, virtual communication, presentation skills, and so on to increase their marketability and stand out from a pack of equally qualified applicants.

Your resume, the first call with the recruiter, and your interview can leave a lasting impression. These are make-or-break introductions that can either make the recruiter go ‘Aha!’ or toss your candidacy into a pile of trash. But, if you think you are the perfect fit for the job, your elevator pitch darn well be perfect too. 

So how do you get your foot through the door and get noticed (for the right reasons)?

While you can do several things like crafting a killer CV, customizing your cover letter to suit the role, polishing your virtual interview skills, etc., in this article, we will walk you through an often-overlooked part of communication – clichéd phrases and buzzword to avoid like the plague in your elevator pitch. These buzzwords are often extremely overused and ring hollow. It may be easy for us to spot these cringey buzzwords when it comes from others, but when we ourselves are saying or writing them, they go unnoticed.  

Strong Communication Skills

Of course, effective communication is a desirable attribute, but every resume mentions the same and it is losing its meaning. Are you trying to say that you can get ideas and plans communicated effectively to your team, and this allows you to achieve your goals? If yes, then mention the detailed version instead. Another way to show you have strong communication skills, is to prove it by your choice of words in crafting an effective CV

Great Team Player

That really doesn’t mean anything. Every candidate wants their potential employer to know they work well with teams. But let’s be honest, isn’t that the bare minimum requirement from every employee? Besides, you have not met the new team, so how exactly can you be sure if you really are a team player in every scenario? If you want to highlight that you are collaborative, share an anecdote to show how you accomplished something, and collaboratively drove organizational success.

Attention To Detail

You do not have to call this out explicitly. A well-written CV devoid of any errors or typos, or even showing up to the interview fully prepared with an understanding of what your potential employer does can be a proof of that.


Obviously you get results, isn’t that why you made it this far? But don’t just say this, instead demonstrate through key performance indicators what results you achieved. For instance, it could be – ‘Implemented abc features within x months and as a result, increased traffic to website apps by y%’.


Self-motivated and its variant – ‘proactive’ are overly played out buzzwords. Again, show, don’t tell. Your certification, initiatives you took up outside of your key responsibilities can better demonstrate this positive attribute.

Extremely Hardworking

No doubt, strong work ethics is crucial, but hard-working is not equivalent to being productive or efficient. Therefore, this cliché is best left out for your personal branding vocabulary. It’s a lot more convincing if you can emphasize on your time management and productivity skills and give examples of how these qualities helped you accomplish your professional goals.

Proven Ability In…

Do you really have proof of “working in a fast-paced environment with a multidisciplinary team”? Probably not. Substantiate these claims with more information and concrete deliverables

Responsible For…

‘Responsible for…’ is the single-most overused phrase in every resume. It is uninspired and gives the impression that the points are simply lifted off a template. Replace the phrase with action verbs such as performed, implemented, delivered, chaired, liaised, reviewed, etc. to make a compelling point.

Reference Available On Request

Why don’t you want to share your references right away? What are you holding back? References can be made available, but the important thing is to ensure that your reference contacts are aware that you are citing them in your CV/resume. Better yet, share a copy of your CV and details about the role you are applying for with them to ensure you get the recommendations you want.

Sure, these clichéd phrases won’t sabotage your application, but they won’t necessarily make you look like the perfect candidate. It is important to avoid these common resume mistakes because you run the risk of downplaying your unique skills to your potential employer.

Planning a job change? Empower your job search by signing up on a talent discovery platform like Talent500 to get placed with Fortune 500 companies and top MNCs globally.

Sharanya Rao

Sharanya Rao

Content Marketing Strategist at Talent500. Innately curious about things in general. A strategic planner who loves to make lives easier. An optimist holding on dearly to a glass half-full.

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