proven leader“I am leader, and I can prove it?” Is that what job candidates and some resume writers (the not so good ones) mean when they include”proven leader” as part of your value proposition? Pretty silly, isn’t it? And I’ll bet that the phrase, “results driven” follows close behind – another phrase that doesn’t really mean anything other than that you are driven by results, and actually, who isn’t? One suggestion – if, in fact, you are NOT into getting results when you do something, consider dropping out of the job market. Actually consider dropping out, because for almost anything we humans do (short of meditation, perhaps), we hope for a good result.

If something goes without saying – like being a team-player – what’s it doing in your resume? Because, seriously, if you’re not a team player, you probably don’t want to admit it. Of COURSE you’re a team player. You’re also a human being, but hopefully you didn’t feel the need to differentiate yourself from a centipede.

Do you have excellent communication skills? Many people don’t, but they either don’t know it or care to admit it, but they’ll put it on their resume, anyway. Along with their proven leadership, results-driven team-playing.

Why am I being so hard on you?

Trouble is, when everybody uses the exact same language to describe themselves and their skills, those works lose meaning (although I’m not sure all of the above ever had any meaning). These words are poster children for “hackneyed.”

You want a resume that differentiates you from the gazillion other marketing managers, sales executives, accountants and HR professionals, so stop describing yourself in the same terms they do. In fact, stop describing yourself, period.

Instead, demonstrate what matters to your future employer. You’re going to be asked for examples at some point during your job search, so why not increase your odds of getting selected for an interview by giving folks a taste of what you can do for them. When you offer examples of your work that showcase and/or quantify how well you did something, employer understand that you can achieve those kinds of results for them.

When I see “proven leader” on someone’s resume or LinkedIn profile, my visceral reaction is to cringe. I do the same thing when I hear “verbiage” used as a synonym for “wording,” or the rhetorical device “begging the question”uttered in place of “raising the question.” Want to prove you are leader? Show me some examples of your leadership.

Need some help identifying the right language to include on your resume? Let’s talk

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