Warning: If You’re Using One of These Terms on Your Resume, Change It!

A study of more than 1,300 senior managers at companies in the US and Canada with 20 or more employees, an independent research firm, found these terms among the “most overused or meaningless” phrases they’ve seen on resumes.

The solution? See the below chart for recommendations for replacing cliche and/or meaningless phrases.  

Phrases to Leave Out

How to Stand Out

Highly qualified

Describe for the hiring manager what you bring to the role. Highlight your accomplishments in previous positions, emphasize your specific skills and note any certifications you have earned.

Hard worker

Explain exactly how you've gone the extra mile. For instance, did you regularly meet tough deadlines, handle a high volume of projects or tackle tasks outside your job description?

Team player

Working well with others is a must for any role today. Provide examples of how you partnered with colleagues or individuals in other departments to meet an objective.

Problem solver

People love others who can help them get out of a pickle, but be specific when you describe this quality. Highlight a difficult situation you encountered and how you handled it.


Hiring managers seek candidates who can adapt quickly to new situations. Describe how you responded to a major change at work or dealt with the unpredictable aspects of your job.

People person

Employers want professionals with strong communication skills who can build camaraderie with internal and external contacts. Provide an example of how you won over a challenging customer or coworker.   


Companies seek individuals with initiative who can contribute immediately. Show how you took action when you saw an issue that needed to be fixed.