22 December 2015

A buzzword is a word that is popular at a certain time and in a certain context. For example, in 2015 it’s very hot for copywriter’s to say that they are “great storytellers”.

While you might think that including a few buzzwords on your CV shows that you are socially aware of everything that is going on around you, the reality is that hiring managers really dislike resume buzzwords.

See, we employees like to think that hiring managers want to see a few buzzwords dotted around our CV; we think that corporate-sounding buzzwords and jargon will appeal to employers, and we think we’re making a real connection.

But, no. Just no.

A recent study of the CV keywords that hiring managers hate the most threw up LOTS of them. So many, in fact, that the only conclusion to draw is that you need to avoid as many as you can.

Let’s take a look at the CV buzzwords hiring managers hate the most.


The biggest problem with buzzwords is that the employee often doesn’t quantify them. You’re a go-getter … but what does this actually mean? Where are your results? Where is the data to back you up? What have you gone and got?

Best Of Breed

Best of breed makes you sound like a canine who recently won a prize at a dog show. It doesn’t say anything about your credentials, other than the fact that you can’t think of anything original to say that describes you quite as succinctly.

Think Outside The Box

Thinking outside the box has to be one of the most used resume keywords in the history of time. We’ve probably all used it at some point, but now is the time to stop. If you really do think outside the box, you’ll come up with something more creative and original to say than that. Basically, “I think outside the box” makes it sound like you’re thinking inside the box.

Team Player

Team player is vague. Hiring managers want to know what you achieved as part of a team. What were your results? What was your role? What did your teammates say about you and your performance?

Hard Worker

Like the above, hard worker is an overused resume keyword that doesn’t actually say anything. We can all say that we work hard, but if you don’t quantify this, nobody is going to believe you. A hiring manager doesn’t want to be told - they want to be shown. Using this buzzword is just laziness.


Who isn’t? Anyone in the world of work is striving for results. The key is getting the results.

Go-to Person

Basically, you’re an approachable person who is a good communicator. That’s what you are. You’re not a “go-to person”. …

At the end of it all, a hiring manager in 2015 wants to see numbers and figures rather than CV buzzwords; they want you to quantify results and not lazily throw words at them that employees have been using for the last 30 years. Be creative, be imaginative, but don’t be best of breed. Good luck!


This is a guest post by Amy Huges, a blogger and CV/Resume consultant at www.ResumeWritingService.biz. She's passionate about HR and personal career development. She keeps track of the latest trends in resume/CV writing, and regularly participates in career discussions.