Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist

Join Isaiah for a look at 10 of the most played-out buzzwords that smart PhDs are cutting out of their resumes

In this week’s episode…

  • First, Isaiah breaks down the reason that buzzwords are so off-putting in your industry resume
  • Next, he reviews 10 of the most common buzzwords he sees PhDs wasting valuable space on
  • Finally, Isaiah explains which words you can use instead, and why they’re so much more effective

Industry Decision-Makers Are Not Impressed With Overused Buzzwords

A hiring manager’s eyes will start to glaze over when they see certain words. 

This kind of buzzy resume language can become outdated quickly among the inner circles of industry and can sometimes read as a desperate attempt to sound in the know. 

But above all, the problem with resume buzzwords is that they don’t say anything meaningful about your qualifications or experience. 

One study by The Guardian revealed that the use of buzzwords can reduce a candidate’s chances of getting a phone screen by 30%. 

Today I’m going to cover 10 of the biggest offenders and explain what exactly is so wrong with these particular buzzwords.

There Are 10 Buzzwords That Have Been Done To Death In Industry

“Enthusiastic” is one I’m guilty of using in the early days of my job search. 

Recruiters see “enthusiasm” as a word you should show, not tell. 

It is impossible to measure enthusiasm quantitatively. 

Also, enthusiasm has no bearing on how successful you’ll be in this role, or your qualifications. 

If this word is in your cover letter or resume, cut it now without a second thought. 

Buzzwords Can Be Action Words, Adjectives, Or Even Skills

“Skilled” is another buzzword, and it goes hand-in-hand with our third one – “hard worker.” 

Employers assume that you can perform any of the skills on your resume well. 

And, since no one would ever put “lazy” or “occasionally a hard worker” on their resume, “hard worker” is another word that falls into the category of “yeah, so?” for employers. 

To demonstrate these skills, focus on specific examples. 

For instance, include a bullet point on your resume that describes a time when you went above and beyond to meet a deadline. 

Show With Quantifiable Results, Don’t Rely On Buzzwords To Tell Employers Your Story

A fourth buzzphrase is “proficient in Microsoft Word.” 

This, employers assume, should be given; the software has existed since 1983. 

If you have a certification in Excel or Sharepoint, bring that up by all means. 

But every candidate in the job market today has grown up using word processing programs. 

Literacy in Word is considered a given. 

“Fast learners” and those who “work well under pressure” should skip these buzzwords on their resumes too. 

Again, they don’t say anything concrete about what you’re capable of. 

Most Global 500 companies have training and SOPs that are clearly defined – you won’t be able to jump in feet first, even if you wanted to. 

As far as “working well under pressure”, this is another instance where an anecdote can be powerful, but the word itself is weak and comes across as an effort to fill up space on your resume. 

** For the full podcast, check out the audio player above.

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