Resume and Linked In Profile Cliches – BE GONE!

STOP Using Cliches

I am a highly motivated, dynamic self-starter, results-oriented, hard-working, dedicated, team-player with excellent multi-tasking and communications skills. I have 20+ years experience in fast-paced environments.

And I never met a cliché I didn’t like.

It doesn’t matter whether you are writing a profile at Linked In, Facebook or a resume. Worn-out phrases and clichés do not effectively communicate your value or your unique qualities. They do effectively prove that you are not original and cannot communicate extremely important concepts in memorable or meaningful ways.
We see two broad types of clichés. There are the worn-out phrases that are supposed to describe skills, and there are the very boring terms that express characteristics. Neither type of cliché helps promote your unique brand in the market – either job or professional. So why do we use clichés? I think they are crutches we use as substitutes for the hard thinking and difficult work involved with developing and communicating our brand.

What is easier? Saying that I have “excellent communication skills”? Or explaining exactly what that means. For instance, do my communications skills persuade? Inform? Motivate? Close deals? Educate? And if my communication skills do one or more of these important things, what type of results have I delivered?

So a more effective statement describing “excellent communication skills” might be:

I use verbal communication skills to persuade and influence colleagues and clients to take affirmative actions towards the resolution of strategic problems such as the development of marketing plans and sales team reorganizations.

This language sounds better and communicates more than, “I have excellent communication skills.”

Every cliché is some sort of shorthand. The trick to writing without relying upon clichés is to dig beyond the shorthand and identify the core of the message or concept. Then explain the core of the concept or idea in terms and language that fits you, your style and promotes your brand. The example I use for communication skills is just one possible way to effectively communicate a core concept about high-end communication skills.

So, as soon as you see yourself falling into cliché ridden writing – stop. Ask yourself, “What is at the core of this idea?” Then offer a more detailed statement around the core competency you are explaining and make sure you add a statement that helps the reader see you delivering value and results.

Here’s a quick list of some of my “favorite” clichés and a quick reference of some helpful questions to facilitate some more in-depth thinking around these “gems” of resume and profile drafting.

“Team Player”
Do you enjoy team oriented relationships?
Do you get a sense of satisfaction from sharing ideas?
Is serving in a well-defined role important to you?

“Self Starter”
Do you take initiative in ambiguous situations?
Are you willing to manage yourself?
Do you thrive in open-ended assignments with little to no direct supervision?

“Hands-On Leader”
Is this a description of your management/leadership style?
Do you lead by example?
Are you able to demonstrate and show team members or direct reports what is expected of them?

“Strategic Thinking”
Are you at your best when working on projects that require pulling together ideas and concepts from multiple sources?
Are you good at seeing and making connections between and among things that appear to others to not be related or connected?
Do enterprise-wide projects hold your interest and attention better than narrowly focused projects and assignments?

Is this a description of your work style?
Are you most engaged when you have multiple projects to complete?
Do you thrive on lots of interpersonal contact and projects?

“Multi-Tasking Skills”
Do you meet deadlines?
Can you take several projects or assignments from start to completion simultaneously?
Can you lead some projects while contributing to other projects in different roles at the same time?

These are just a start. How many clichés can you add? Can you offer some advice on how to get to the core of the concept or idea contained within the cliché?

So – in closing:
I am an effective and enthusiastic writer using communication skills to drive results, in a hard-working and dependable manner. My 20+ years experience helps me multi-task so I can think out-of-the-box about being a terrific people person.

I am motivated to encourage my readers and clients to find creative and fun ways to express themselves in resume and profile writing. In general, my clients and readers discover that following some simple, but effective, tips and suggestions increases the readability and effectiveness of their resumes, and they usually see an increase in traffic across their social media profiles.

Post sponsored by, Cliché’ B-Gone! Your resume and profile development experts at BPI group.
Chris Osborn – a recovering “people person”!


About cosborn

I like to think, engage in innovative problem solving and spreading the good word about social media and Linked In!
This entry was posted in Job Search - Transition and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Resume and Linked In Profile Cliches – BE GONE!

  1. Jay Sullivan says:

    Chris –

    Your post hits the target.

    Tranlating your offering into tangible specifics like this brings a resume or LI profile alive. Maybe this is why consultants sell using case study examples. They are so real.


    • cosborn says:

      Jay – thanks.

      You’re spot on, BTW. I never though of comparing effective writing in a profile to “case studies”, but that;s a great way to think about it.


  2. Allan Smith says:


    Well done! Your post did a fine job of identifying the culprits AND offering great examples as alternatives. It’s nice to know I can rely on you as a person from whom I can still learn.


    • cosborn says:

      Thanks, Allan. Your kind comments are much appreciated.

      It’s helpful to provide some concrete examples for these things. I see so mnay advice and tip articles and blog posts that make no concrete suggestions that it made sense to take satab at really being different!


  3. Peggy Brinkmann says:

    Chris – great article! And thanks for giving advice to fix these issues. Good advice is always appreciated.

    Hope all is well.

  4. ZAREMA says:

    Thanks the author for article. The main thing do not forget about users, and continue in the same spirit.

  5. hemenparekh says:

    As compared to a jobseeker writing her own resume, a resume written by a professional expert resume-writer would any day prove better.


    Before sending that well-written resume to a recruiter, can a jobseeker figure-out in advance what would happen if that resume

     gets ” rated / ranked / scored ” by recruiter ?

     gets compared automatically with resumes of other applicants ?

    Will she get an interview-call ?

    To know what is likely to happen , she has to just type “Resume Rater” in Google / Yahoo / Bing , and download this software tool ( free and without even login ) from any of the 35+ websites. Then rate her resume.

    Resume Rater mimics the ” resume-evaluation ” process of recruiters’ minds but does it in an unbiased / objective way.
    Resume Rater is absolutely non – discriminatory.


    hemen parekh

    Jobs for All = Peace on Earth


  6. tony alonzi says:


    What an amazing blog and site you’ve created. There is a wealth of information here that anyone can use. I think that your blog will be a frequent stop…a lot of great information here. Thanks!

  7. cosborn says:

    Thanks! Love your site, too.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s