The Best And Worst Words To Use On Your Résumé

(Original article by Susan Adams on

Resume best and worst wordsOne recent study showed that recruiters spend all of 6.25 seconds looking at a candidate’s résumé before deciding whether he or she is fit for a job. A new survey of 2,200 hiring managers and human resource staffers by jobs website CareerBuilder shows that your résumé may get a bit more time before being cast aside. While some 17% of hiring managers said they spend 30 seconds or less, 68% said they scan a résumé for as long as two minutes before putting it aside. Still, that’s hardly any time to impress someone who could determine your employment future.

To help maximize the punch your résumé gives in such a short amount of time, CareerBuilder also asked survey-takers to list terms they consider turn-offs, and to offer advice about the words that make them view a candidate favorably. The message: Don’t include sweeping terms of self-praise, like “team player,” “go-getter” and “self-motivated.” Rather describe your accomplishments specifically with words like “improved,” “created” and “increased” and a specific explanation of exactly what you did, including numbers whenever possible. For instance, instead of saying you added value to your sales team by your dynamic, results-driven efforts to proactively boost sales, say you improved every monthly sales target in the last six months by 40%. In other words, instead of saying you are results-driven, show the results you’ve achieved.

I’ll list the results of the CareerBuilder survey below. But I have to make one comment: The top turn-off term, “best of breed,” strikes me as odd. I’ve never seen it on a résumé and wonder if CareerBuilder crossed its wires with a dog show description.

The worst words to use on your résumé:

1. Best of breed
2. Go-getter
3. Think outside of the box
4. Synergy
5. Go-to person
6. Thought leadership
7. Value add
8. Results-driven
9. Team player
10. Bottom-line
11. Hard worker
12. Strategic thinker
13. Dynamic
14. Self-motivate
15. Detail-oriented
16. Proactively
17. Track record

The words hiring managers want to see:

1. Achieved
2. Improved
3. Trained/mentored
4. Managed
5. Created
6. Resolved
7. Volunteered
8. Influenced
9. Increased/decreased
10. Ideas
11. Negotiated
12. Launched
13. Revenue/profits
14. Under budget
15. Won

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Ultimate Shoe & Suit Matching Guide

When dressing for success it’s important to know how to fully put your outfit together. Shoes can make or break a suit and with so many styles and colors it can be difficult to pick what looks good together. Have no fear! The ultimate shoe and suit matching guide is here! Put together by Redditor stRafaello, the guide matches suit color with acceptable shoe color, distinguishes the degree of formality of the different styles of shoes, and even notes what styles are hot right now.

(click image to enlarge)


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FREE One-Day Transition Workshop by NMR Consulting & SSV

NMR M2C & SSV Brochure

WBCNA & SSV to Host 3rd Annual ‘Empowering Our Veterans’ Event

Empowering Our Veterans 5-17-13 (195)The Women’s Business Center of North Alabama’s (WBCNAs) Veterans Business Assistance Center (VBAC), in partnership with Still Serving Veterans (SSV) will be hosting its 3rd annual ‘Empowering Our Veterans’ event on April 25th, 2014 at the Redstone Federal Credit Union off Wynn Drive. This event is FREE for Veterans and their spouses. Whether you are a Veteran currently seeking employment or an aspiring entrepreneur looking for tips on how to get your fledgling enterprise off the ground, this event has everything you need!

Attendees will have the option to attend one of two training workshop tracks: Entrepreneurial -or- Employment.

Workshops for entrepreneurs will encompass such topics as starting, marketing, and financing a business, while employment workshops will provide a holistic guide to finding and securing meaningful employment in the civilian world.  Also, HR professionals will be onsite offering real-time resume writing

and critiquing assistance as well as mock interviews to help you prepare for the real thing!

A career fair and business expo will also be held, giving Veterans the opportunity to network with companies seeking to recruit Veterans for employment.

You must pre-register online in order to reserve your space at this event.  Registration closes on Friday, April 18th, at 5pm.

For more information concerning this event or if you would like to register, click here.

Below are some pictures from last year’s event

Empowering Our Veterans 5-17-13 (73)

Empowering Our Veterans 5-17-13 (40)Empowering Our Veterans 5-17-13 (137)

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12 Phrases You Should Never Say In A Professional Context

(Original Article:


Saying the right things matters, especially when it comes to your career. No matter if you’re a business founder or an entry-level employee, there are probably words and phrases you’ve been using that are hindering you at work.

As the founder and CEO of Open Me, an online greeting card company, I understand the importance of being more thoughtful in both your professional and personal lives. Honing in on what you’re saying in professional conversations, jotting down on your resume, and sharing in interviews may turn your career in a new direction.

Remove these phrases from your everyday professional conversations:

1. “That’s not my job.” This type of self-serving phrase won’t just anger your coworkers or manager, it could also cost your your job. While a task may not fit directly within your original job description, it’s for the greater good of the company that you lend a hand wherever and whenever possible.

2. “I’ll try.” If you want to inspire doubt in whomever you’re speaking to, try this phrase out. Not only will you eliminate the trust of coworkers, you’ll also place doubt in the minds of your customers and clients. Replace “try” with “will” for better results.

3. “I dislike…” If you’re constantly sharing your distaste for things, your coworkers are quickly going to tune you out. Avoid constant negativity and filter in more positivity. For instance, instead of saying you dislike meetings because they run too long, figure out a way to energize them or keep them short.

4. “I’m too busy.” It’s time to face the music: Everyone’s really busy. Replace this phrase with something like, “Once I tackle this task, I’ll be happy to take a look at that.”

Avoid these phrases during an interview:

1. “I think…” This statement only shows self-doubt — something you can’t risk in an interview. Drop this phrase and replace it with something more confident like “In my experience..”

2. “To be honest…” Stating this before you answer a question may lead the interviewer to believe you weren’t being honest during the rest of your interview. Avoid this phrase altogether and never lie during an interview.

3. “Me, me, me.” If your entire thought process during your interview is in regard to yourself, it’s going to come through in how you answer questions. The company wants to know what you’re going to bring to the position. Don’t ask if you can work from home or what the compensation package looks like unless they bring it up.

4. “My previous employer was awful…” Badmouthing is never a good idea — it shows you’re untrustworthy or disloyal. If you don’t have something nice to say about your current or previous employer, then it’s best not to say it at all. Any kind of negativity toward a company or manager might label you as a bad hire.

Remove these words from your resume:

1. “Highly qualified.” Show, don’t tell. Simply writing this, rather than listing the experiences that make you highly qualified, may peg you as lazy or dishonest.

2. “Familiar with…” Once again, it’s essential to show an employer exactly how you’ve used technical programs or specific skills. Simply listing your familiarity isn’t going to do you any favors.

3. “Team player.” How were you a team player? Avoid lip service and share concrete experiences and accomplishments you achieved through teamwork instead.

4. “Problem solver.” Break down your resume to represent your abilities as a problem solver. For instance, share a problem-solving achievement that benefited your previous employer or client.

Don’t let what you say hold your career back! Evaluate your vernacular to ensure you exude positivity and confidence.

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5 Tricks to Ace Any Job Interview


(original post from Business Insider:

Over the past few weeks I’ve interviewed about 20 people for a VP-level position.

… candidates aren’t judged on how well they do their jobs; they’re judged on how well they describe how they do their jobs.

Not one of these candidates applied for the job. I found them all through LinkedIn or via a referral. Nonetheless, I was dumbfounded that many of these people weren’t great interviewees, yet I suspect they were all remarkable people doing their jobs.

Unfortunately, candidates aren’t judged on how well they do their jobs; they’re judged on how well they describe how they do their jobs. When hiring someone, it would be better if the person could go through an actual tryout, similar to how athletes are evaluated. But that will never happen, at least for candidates who are being aggressively wooed. So instead we’re left with judging potential employees via the one-on-one interview.

Recognize that if you’re a candidate looking for a job, even a passive candidate, how you present yourself matters. With this in mind, here are some ideas on how to best present yourself.

First, understand that all interviewers are attempting to evaluate the following:

  • How skilled you are and how you applied these skills on the job
  • If what you’ve accomplished is comparable to what needs to be accomplished
  • How you’d fit with the team, work well with the hiring manager, and fit with the company “culture”
  • Your level of drive, initiative, and motivation
  • Your upside potential

While all of these factors are important, how they’re measured is pretty unscientific. Techies overvalue the depth of a person’s technical brilliance. Just about all non-techies overvalue the candidate’s first impression, appearance, warmth, and friendliness. Most managers overvalue their intuition and gut feel. Just about everyone has their own pet questions and private techniques they swear by to decide yay or nay. And right or wrong, everyone makes their assessment on all of these things based on how well you communicate your answers. Given this state of affairs, here’s some advice on how to not blow the interview. It starts by communicating better.

Talk in paragraphs, not sentences

The big idea is to talk for 2-3 minutes in response to any question. Short one or two sentence answers are deal-breakers. In these cases, the interviewer has to work too hard to pry the information out of the candidate, and since they don’t know what information they need pry out, it will likely be wrong. So talk more than less, but no more than 2-3 minutes per answer, otherwise you’re considered boring, ego-centric, and insensitive.

You should practice the multi-paragraph response approach using the SAFW structure below. Then use the SMARTTe or STAR acronym to clarify the example.

  • SAFW – just Say A Few Words. To format your basic answers start by making a general opening Statement, Amplify or clarify this opening with a few sentences, then provide a Few examples to prove your opening point. End your answer with a summary Wrap-up and some hooks to get the interviewer to ask a logical follow-up question.
  • Give SMARTT Examples. For the example chosen, describe the Specific task; throw in some Metrics to add color, scope, and scale; add Action verbs describing what you Actually did; define the Result as a deliverable; put a Timeframe around the task, describing when it took place and how long it took; describe the Team involved; and then describe the environment including the pace, the resources available, the challenges involved, and role your boss played.
  • Use STAR. This is an alternative approach for interviewers asking behavioral questions. When they ask you to give an example of when you used some behavior, skill, or competency, they’ll follow up by asking about the Situation, Task, Action taken, and the Result achieved. You can beat them to the punch by framing your responses the STAR way.
  • End with a Hook. Don’t spill everything out at once. You only have 2-3 minutes, so leave a few key details unanswered. This will prompt the interviewer to follow up with some logical questions. A forced hook is something like, “Is this type of project relevant to what you need done?”
  • Remember the Big E for Example. If you forget all of this, don’t forget to give lots of examples of actual accomplishments to prove every strength and neutralize every weakness.

Interviewers really like it when they don’t have to work too hard to figure out if you’re any good. Well-constructed answers provide insight into your intelligence and potential, your enthusiasm and motivation, your ability to deal with people, and of course how competent you are. Most important of all: your ability to influence others to make important decisions starts by influencing them to hire you.

Note: if you don’t want to wait for more job-seeker advice on this blog, I’ve put a video series together that covers job-seeking from A-Z. There’s also a bunch of job-seeker secrets hidden in plain sight in The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired. This post, Learn to Dance and Other Job-Hunting Secrets, provides a non-traditional approach to finding a job and getting interviewed.

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FREE Resume Workshops in Opelika

Web Graphic - ORW14Are you a Veteran, Military Spouse or dependent seeking employment? A major factor in the success of your job search is your resume – is it up to par? Still Serving Veterans is hosting FREE resume workshops on March 6th and 12th, both from 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm, and both at the Opelika Goodwill Career Center located at 2740 Pepperell Parkway (click here for map).

There are two workshops that will complement each other, one for writing and techniques, and the other a review and critique. Attendance to both is recommended but not required. Registration, however, is required to attend.

The first workshop, held on March 6th, will concentrate on resume writing. The workshop will provide information on current resume trends and help you target and focus your resume. The second workshop, held on March 12th, will be conducted in a more one-on-one setting in which a professional will review and help you edit your resume to make it the best it can be.

“One of our clients’ top concerns is the job search they face after transitioning out of the military or back into the job market,” said Charles Livings, Regional Expansion Coordinator at Still Serving Veterans. “Our job at Still Serving Veterans is to make the transition less intimidating, through workshops like these, and giving our clients all the tools that they need to take that step with confidence.”

Register Now!

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