For the past few years, LinkedIn has released their list of the most commonly overused buzzwords on peoples’ profiles. Among some of the repeat offenders were words or phrases like “creative”, “detail-oriented”, “team player” or “responsible”. If you’re trying to elicit a good yawn out of recruiters, go ahead and keep these words in your resume. However, if you want your resume to stand out in a crowd of other creative, detail-oriented team players, here’s what you can do:
Don’t say you’re creative; show it.
Are you finishing up your college career as a graphic design major? Or maybe you have an art and design minor? Well, it’s probably a given that you’re creative. In fact, by stating that you’re creative, you’re actually making yourself seem incredibly uncreative. Instead, try having an original resume design or a link to your portfolio website.
Are you trying to get into a career field where creativity isn’t a given? Demonstrate your creative abilities by using a thesaurus to find more inventive terms and give an example of a time you thought outside the box, and how it paid off.
With that, make sure you tell a story.
Do you actually have proof that you’re “detail-oriented” or a “team player”? Instead of outrightly labeling yourself with these empty adjectives, give an example of a time your attention to detail made a difference in your work. Were you in charge of reviewing files or proofreading documents? Stating these accomplishments and highlighting any exciting or impressive results that may have come from your hard work is a much better way to communicate that you’re ‘detail-oriented’.
If you feel like you lack any professional experience, think about times when you took charge of a class project and what the end results were. As you prepare to begin your job search, it’s always best to become self-aware and develop your personal brand so that you can effectively communicate your strengths and skills to employers. Instead of applying generic adjectives to yourself that you think will make yourself seem like a desirable job candidate, take some time to really think about your accomplishments and how you can showcase them on your resume, cover letter, or in an interview.
If you want extra guidance on how to write the most effective resume, come to the CCO during drop in hours (M-F, 10 AM-4 PM) for a resume review.