Would that I had a nickel for every client who asked me to include in the resume that he or she is a “fast learner,” or a “diligent worker,” or my all time fave, a “proven leader.” But I don’t, or I wouldn’t be writing a blog post about it. Here’s the thing: everyone says stuff like this about themselves, so it’s meaningless to say so. Besides, shouldn’t these traits go without saying (other than the proven leader nonsense, but more on that later)? Turn these claims around and what have you got? You’re a slow learner? You’re a slacker? You see my point.
If something is both meaningless AND should be assumed, it has no place on your resume. Not if you want to differentiate yourself from the other candidates. Not if you want to demonstrate what does make you a great candidate for the job opportunity.
While working with a client recently, I asked her to come up with one or two specific examples of her having learned something quickly, and putting it to good use for the benefit of her employer. Nothing came to mind. Then I asked her for an example of her having been a hard worker, which I’m sure she was, but she had no story to illustrate a time when she went above and beyond what would normally be expected. Nada.
For your resume to impress a potential employer, you want to provide very specific examples of what you’ve done – examples that will resonate with the type of employers you’re targeting. This means letting go of the way resumes were written in the past, so the fact that the resume we collaborate on doesn’t look like your friend’s resume is – a good thing.
Back to the “proven leader” claim. Read this and see if you still want to include that on your resume.