Generic language is killing your resume

Updated: Aug 27

Generic language on resumes is an issue that is causing a lot of job seekers (and recruiters) frustration.

What do I mean by “generic language”?

Here’s a hypothetical example of a summary (I often see stuff that’s very similar to this):

Accomplished management professional with expertise leading teams, meeting deadlines, and ensuring smooth workflows across facility operations.

Can you figure out what this person does for a living? Probably not.

  • What industry are they in?

  • What products and services do they deliver?

  • How many years of experience do they have?

As you can tell, there’s a lot of missing context.

A better way to phrase that sentence would be to say something like this:

Operations Manager with 11 years of experience overseeing procurement, logistics, and warehousing activities at a 130,000 sq.ft. distribution facility.

There’s a stark difference. From reading option 2, you immediately have a solid understanding of what this person does on a daily basis.

So how do you avoid falling into this generic language trap?

Three tips that work well:

  • Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager - will they be able to understand your career based on what you’ve written?

  • Walk away from your resume for a few days and then when you come back to it, read it out loud.

  • Ask a colleague to read it. Oftentimes, another set of eyes will spot issues that you may gloss over.

 

What can Final Draft Resumes do for you?

We offer tailor-made resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn content development services designed to align with your unique mix of work history, skills, successes, and career goals.

Check out the full suite of services we offer:

  • Entry to midlevel professionals with less than 10 years of experience

  • Established professionals with over 10 years of experience

  • Executive professionals such as CEOs, VPs, and directors

 

About the Author

James Cooper is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and has been in the recruiting, career coaching, and writing business for almost 14 years. He began his career recruiting for AECOM, a Canadian engineering firm, and he's gone on to work with and help professionals land roles at top Fortune 500 companies.

Have questions about resume writing? Reach out at jc@finaldraftresumes.com.