Words to Delete from Your Resume

Words to Delete from Your Resume

Waiting for an interview

Waiting for an interview

This question originally appeared on Quora.

What are your least favorite resume words? My own is “utilize” — there isn’t a single instance I can think of where it would be inappropriate to substitute “use.” Therefore, every time I read “utilize” on a resume I always feel like the writer is trying to be unnecessarily fancy.

Answer below by Erin Berkery-Rovner, career advisor and former recruiter.

Various. It reads as the single-handedly most useless adjective on a resume.

And it essentially boils down to saying nothing new about the nouns that it prefaces.

Worked on various projects.

Held various jobs over the course of the internship.

Used various word processing programs.

Wrote various words on my resume to sound important.

In almost any example I can think of, it replaces the word ‘different.’ Maybe people use it to demarcate separate projects they worked on or duties they performed. Except if you were to write the word ‘different’ instead of various, your resume would come off like a sullen teen:

I worked on a few different projects, but whatever, they weren’t really descriptive, just various.

I really think that if you are going to use the word various, you should delete it. The difference between this sentence: Worked on various projects, and this one: Worked on projects, is nothing.

Nobody read the second sentence and thought, “Well, they didn’t specifically say that they worked on different disparate projects, so despite the plural nature of the word projects, I’m going to assume that they only worked on one project…” And really with various, why bother?

Most important, you should be specific or go home. You need to either tell me how many projects you worked on or what they were.

Let’s face it, do you want to hire this gal: Worked on four monthly projects with collaborative teams. I have no idea what she’s doing except working with people in a project-based environment, but it’s still it’s better than this: Worked on various projects.

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