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What NOT to Say in Your Resume

Are you an “executive luminary”? A “pioneering game-changer”? An “innovation evangelist”? An “outside-the-box catalyst for skyrocketing growth”?

If so – great! But please don’t describe yourself that way – or in other overblown terms – in your resume, LinkedIn profile, cover letter, executive bio, interviews, network interactions, or anywhere else during your job search.

Why not? Isn’t your resume supposed to be a marketing document, a sales message designed to entice an employer? Yes, of course, but any of those terms and others like them can be called

Braggadocio: empty boasting, arrogant pretension

The minute you step over the line from describing to bragging, you achieve exactly the opposite of your goal. Your listeners/readers will be turned off and skeptical rather than intrigued and interested.

The best way to communicate your value is not to tell others how great you are. Rather, it’s to tell them what you have achieved. Describe the challenges you faced, your actions, and your results. Let them make the leap to terms like visionary, pioneer, innovator, game changer.

Of course, I am not advocating that you undersell yourself, either. It’s important to be clear and overt about what you’ve done. But concentrate on facts and actions rather than labels and adjectives.

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