Whether you're out of a job as part of the recession's layoffs, everyone is taking a closer look at their resumes. Does it reflect your accomplishments and show your career progression - or hide the lack thereof? If you've been working with an older resume, take a closer look at your language: how many clichés do you have in there? Here are 10 phrases you should ban from your resume, and new, fresh ways to showcase your skills to put your resume at the top of the applicant pile. (For related reading, check out 7 Things You Should Say In An Interview.)

In Pictures: 6 Hot Careers With Lots Of Jobs

  1. "I'm a Team-Player."
    This is one of the most over-used clichés, so try to find a way you can show that you are this team-player. Did you collaborate with someone or with a department to meet an objective? Put that on your resume instead of a vague, clichéd expression. Be detailed about your achievement. (For more, see Dealing With 10 Coworker Personality Conflicts.)

  2. "I Have Great Communication Skills."
    Communication skills can mean so many things, which is why using this term on your resume only makes you lose your recruiter's interest. What communication skills did you use to contribute to your employer? Did you create a presentation, a press release or lead a conference call? State your specific achievement.

  3. "I Have a Proven Track-Record."
    So prove it! What did you do to give you this track record? Be specific, and try to quantify your impact; "I brought in 10 new customers, adding $50k profit for 2009" sounds far more impressive than some vague statement, and will help you stand out among the dozens of resumes.

  4. "I'm a Problem Solver."
    Everybody loves a problem-solver, which is why so many resumes state this skill with pride. You can do better: tell your prospective company what problem you solved. Did you optimize a troubling schedule, did you solve an employee dispute or did you iron out a problem with a customer? Again, be specific to be memorable.

  5. "I Assisted In X Task."
    Maybe you weren't the lead on a particular project, but saying you "assisted" is the kiss of death for your resume. What was it that you did? Did you write a sales report or keep inventory? Write that on your resume with pride, and lose the "assisted" - you're better than that.

  6. "I Have a Strong Work Ethic."
    A strong work ethic - that sounds great, right? You're not the only one using this cliché, so freshen up your resume by stating how you go that extra mile. Did you take a class to improve your skills? Did you meet some really tough deadline? Show the hiring official what makes you this person with a strong work ethic, instead of using another cliché like your fellow applicants.

  7. "I'm Bottom-Line Focused."
    Another hollow term that is overused and now means nothing - so show what you did that added to the bottom-line of your company. It's very important to quantify for this skill: list amounts of money, time, or resources you saved or added to the business.

  8. "I'm Responsible For X."
    We're all responsible for something when we go to work, whether a janitor or a CEO. Drop this expression and just state what your job title is and what you added to the company's success. Cutting these clutter words will make your resume stronger and more to-the-point.

  9. "I'm Self-Motivated."
    What you're really trying to say is that you're not that slacker who clocks out at three every day, but this cliché is not going to help you get your point across. Find a way to show that you're self-motivated: did you overhaul a broken inventory system, or find a new way to expand your sales territory? Self-motivated employees find innovative ways to improve on what they've been handed - put what you actually did on your resume. (Learn more in, Taking The Lead In The Interview Dance.)

  10. "I'm Accustomed to a Fast-Paced Environment."
    What does this mean, exactly? Fast-paced work environments are the norm in this recession, where most people do more work for less money. To be specific, look at one of your busiest days in your (former) job. What did you accomplish, and how did you adapt to the obstacles thrown your way? Put that achievement on your resume to prove that you can adapt when challenged - a quality employers look for.

Show, Don't Tell
Avoid these clichés, because they're umbrella terms everyone uses, so your resume gets lost in the shuffle. In this competitive job market, your resume really needs to stand out and be memorable for you to get that interview. Find ways to be detailed about your achievements, and quantify how you've added to the company's bottom line. Show who you are and what you've done - these details will make you stand out as the memorable candidate you are. (For more resume tips, check out Flip This Resume.)

Feeling uninformed? Check out the financial news highlights in Water Cooler Finance: Greece Is Burning And Buffett's Under Fire.

Related Articles
  1. Financial Advisors

    Putting Your CFA Level I on Your Resume

    Learn techniques for emphasizing your CFA Level I status in the Skills and Certifications or Professional Development section of your resume.
  2. Personal Finance

    10 Reasons It Is Time to Look for a New Job

    Learn 10 good reasons for switching jobs, such as major life changes, ethical concerns, job description creep and upwards mobility.
  3. Professionals

    Common Interview Questions for Business Analysts

    Identify some of the most common job interview questions asked of business analyst candidates, and learn the responses that will make you stand out.
  4. Professionals

    Common Interview Questions for Compliance Officers

    Prepare to ace your compliance officer interview. Learn how to answer some commonly asked interview questions and what you need to know to come out ahead.
  5. FA

    CIPM: The Key To A Niche Career In Finance

    CIPM designates usually work as investment performance analysts.
  6. Professionals

    8 Things Employers Aren’t Allowed To Ask You

    Frequently, an eager job seeker overlooks certain interview questions that are improper, but there are situations where these questions are illegal.
  7. Economics

    Management Strategies From A Top CEO

    Jack Welch is a legend in the business world: during the two decades he was CEO of General Electric, the company’s value rose by 4000%.
  8. Personal Finance

    How to Manage Corporate Change in the Modern Economy

    Change can make employees uncomfortable, but these keys can help ease the transition and increase morale.
  9. Professionals

    Common Interview Questions for Data Analysts

    Learn how to prepare for your data analysis job interview by having solid answers to these common questions that measure your knowledge and effectiveness.
  10. Personal Finance

    Overlooked Skills You Need to Succeed at Work

    To succeed at work, you need to master a variety of soft skills.
  1. Does a financial advisor need an MBA?

    Obtaining a license as a financial adviser does not require an Master's of Business Administration (MBA) degree. The Certified ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How can an investment banker switch to a career in corporate finance?

    It's pretty easy for an investment banker to switch to a career in corporate finance. The career skills are easily transferable, ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do I get started with a career in asset management?

    The asset management industry has a variety of different career paths. Depending on what asset management area you would ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. For which kind of jobs is having Magnum Cum Laude most important?

    Having a magna cum laude degree is most important for jobs in the fields of finance, management consulting and engineering. ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Other than accounting, what does a corporate finance job involve?

    While a corporate finance job almost always involves accounting in some capacity, there are many additional job duties and ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What qualities are necessary to be an effective member of the c-suite in a publicly-traded ...

    Several qualities are needed to be a member of the c-suite of a publicly traded company. The c-suite is business jargon term ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Take A Bath

    A slang term referring to the situation of an investor who has experienced a large loss from an investment or speculative ...
  2. Black Friday

    1. A day of stock market catastrophe. Originally, September 24, 1869, was deemed Black Friday. The crash was sparked by gold ...
  3. Turkey

    Slang for an investment that yields disappointing results or turns out worse than expected. Failed business deals, securities ...
  4. Barefoot Pilgrim

    A slang term for an unsophisticated investor who loses all of his or her wealth by trading equities in the stock market. ...
  5. Quick Ratio

    The quick ratio is an indicator of a company’s short-term liquidity. The quick ratio measures a company’s ability to meet ...
  6. Black Tuesday

    October 29, 1929, when the DJIA fell 12% - one of the largest one-day drops in stock market history. More than 16 million ...
Trading Center