Certain words and phrases should rarely, if ever, appear on a resume or cover letter. Many of these phrases come from employer job descriptions, and job-seekers often make the mistake of basing their resumes on job descriptions for current and past jobs. That’s a big blunder because a job description represents the bare minimum of what a job can consist of. As noted in Chapter 7, employers are much more interested in your accomplishments, achievements, results, and how you have gone above and beyond the strictures of your job description.
Among ineffective words and phrases, my No. 1 pet peeve is any form or variation of the word “responsibility.” It’s a word I never want to see on a resume. I advise never to use expressions such as “Duties included,” “Responsibilities included,” “Accountable for,” or “Responsible for.” Why? Because those words and phrases comprise job-description language, not accomplishments-oriented resume language that sells.
After all, if you were an employer and wanted to run a successful organization, would you look for candidates who can perform only their basic job functions, or would you want employees who can make real contributions? In these days in which most resumes are placed into keyword-searchable databases, you won’t find employers searching resumes for words like “responsibilities,” “duties,” or “responsible for.”
Occasionally, “responsibility,” can be used effectively, such as in a bullet point like this one:
- Consistently promoted to positions of increasing responsibility.
In the same vein, don’t use words that describe mundane job duties, such as:
- Handled everyday office functions.
- Oversaw routine administrative tasks.
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