Forget Buzzwords

Posted on: August 12th, 2014 by
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What are buzzwords?   When it comes to resumes and interviews, a buzzword is a word or abbreviation that has meaning to you, but may not have meaning to the reader/listener. In those cases, the hiring person/organization may have no idea what you’re talking about.


Some buzzwords have industry or functional definitions like CPA, PMP, or MBA and may not need to be spelled out.  But to be on the safe side it might be helpful to just once write it up like this:  MBA (Masters of Business Administration).  It’s kind of like using a belt and suspenders at the same time.  On the other hand, abbreviations like ABA, UMAT, CNC or similar designations may be totally irrelevant if the reader has no idea of the connection with the open position and your background.


Buzzwords that begin a sentence about your activities can also be irrelevant or misleading.  Words like motivated, innovative, talented or dynamic can obscure your experiences and diminish a hiring manager’s interest in you.  Why?  Because you’re declaring yourself a  judge of your own performance in place of an objective external reference.  The real question is:  What did you contribute to a past employer?  Self-appraisals seldom work.


Rather than describe yourself as creative, why not demonstrate with an example of a project on a resume or a “story” during an interview that proves it.  Example:  “Increased revenue 10% by creating a new ‘consultative marketing plan’ for new customers in a new market”.  The words you use creates a “word picture” of who you are, what you have done, and how you are uniquely different from all other candidates.  Focus on the professional achievements and experiences that are specific to you and the job to be done.


The hiring manager wants to know the skills you bring that will assist the organization in reaching its objective.  Profile yourself in a way to match or exceed the requirements set out in the position description.


Don’t use words that the hiring agent is tired of looking at and has no meaning:  Proactive, energized, committed, engaging, creative, and so on.  Your resume and interview must give the hiring manager confidence that you can do the job.  That is accomplished by using action verbs followed by a metric that demonstrate results.


To the hiring manager, you should be able to do achieve results, not give empty words.


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