Many job seekers think of buzz phrases and phrases like bloggers think of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If they use the certain phrases every hiring manager is looking for, their resumes will stand out above the crowd. Unfortunately when it comes to buzz phrases, nothing can be further from the truth. Buzz phrases can often prevent your resume, cover letter or interview from standing out from the crowd.
What are some of the meaningless buzz phrases to steer clear of during your job campaign?
“I’m a people person.”
Exactly what does that mean? For the average person it means they like people. Why tell a hiring manager you’re a people person? Would anyone ever admit to being the opposite? Those few words have just taken up valuable real estate in your cover letter. If you’re in an interview, you have just lost the interviewer’s attention.
Customer service, both internal and external, is what this is all about. Leave this phrase off the cover letter completely. If you are in an interview be specific. Talk about a time when you satisfied an unhappy customer.
This is another space stealer in your cover letter. There is not one job seeker who would claim to be “unmotivated” even if they felt like it in their last place of employment. In truth, it is just another empty phrase.
Make your motivation come alive. Share a story about a time you took the initiative to work on a huge project. Reveal an experience when you took ownership and acted as a leader to solve a pressing work-related issue. Giving specifics about your level of motivation, will tell a better story rather than summarizing with the phrase, “I’m motivated.”
“I’m a go-getter.”
So you’re a motivated, go-getter? Exactly what does a “go-getter” do? Did you jump start a project at work? Did you work until the wee hours to meet a deadline? Paint a vivid picture for the interviewer. If you are unable to match a story to the phrase, leave it out.
“I’m extremely efficient and organized.”
The first question that pops into a recruiter’s mind is, “prove it.” So the question is can you prove that you are extremely efficient or ultra-organized? When they called for the interview, did you have to ask what position they were calling about? Did you scramble or appear unorganized when you sat down in the interview? If you did any of the above, efficiency and organization are definitely two traits you do not want to brag about.
It is possible to recover from the obvious contradiction in self-discovery? You can certainly try. Talk about a time when you had to manage a multi-layer project which required organization.
Remember just like buzz words, buzz phrases are meaningless in today’s job search. Character trait blanket statements will not impress a hiring manager, neither in your cover letter nor the interview. Offering specifics which tie in with the position requirements, rather than general statements, will place you a step above the crowd.