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.
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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.
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