Recruiters Off the Clock: 4 Things to Eliminate from Your Resume Right Now

They spend hours rounding up recruits, scoping out search assignments, consulting with their clients, and negotiating job offers. At the end of a long day, they’re ready to dish and we make sure we’re on hand to capture their very best insights to share in our Recruiters Off the Clock blog series.


The Question:

What words or phrases should job seekers avoid using in their resumes?


The Recruiters:

Vera Tarutayeva

Vera is a Senior IT Recruiter who has been delivering complete IT staffing solutions to Ian Martin’s public and private sector clients in the Greater Toronto Area since 2007. She has worked in the field of recruitment since 2005.


Farhaz Pasha

Farhaz is a Technical Recruiter with Ian Martin. Having held previous positions in e-commerce, customer service and IT support, Farhaz has a strong understanding of the roles and responsibilities associated with the positions for which he now recruits.


Godlin Horo

With both a Bachelor of Technology in Electronics and Communications Engineering and an MBA with a Human Resources Management focus, Godlin has known that the field of technical recruitment was for her since the moment she graduated. As an Ian Martin Staffing Specialist, she helps skilled candidates build authentic connections around meaningful work.


Sarah Fell

Sarah has been a technical recruiter specializing in placing permanent employees within Engineering and Executive type positions since 2012. A counselor by trade, she prides herself on taking a consultative approach to the entire recruitment process.



The Dish:

“Participated. Using words and phrases like “participated in,” “was involved with,” or even “was part of a team,” can create confusion about the level of the candidate’s actual involvement with a project. It makes it hard to tell if they were a key player, or just someone on the sidelines who observed the project. Instead, use powerful action words like performed, acted, solved, analyzed, led, executed, implemented or played a key role.”

Vera Tarutayeva, Senior IT Recruiter


Hobbies. Don’t waste valuable resume space including a list of things you like to do in your spare time unless they’re directly related to the job. If you volunteer teaching kids how to code and it’s a coding position that you’re applying for, that’s a great thing to highlight. Your passion for playing the bagpipes isn’t going to set you apart from the other candidates applying for the position though.”

Farhaz Pasha, Technical Recruiter


The same word used 18 times. Using the same word or words over and over again can send a message that you’re not very creative or haven’t put a lot of effort into your resume. That’s not a great first impression. If you think you may have relied on a certain word a little too heavily, use the Find and Replace function to count how often it appears and then challenge yourself to come up with an alternative for at least half of them.”

Godlin Horo, Staffing Specialist


Tip: According to LinkedIn, the most overused words in LinkedIn profiles in 2016 were specialized, leadership, passionate, strategic, experienced, focused, expert, certified, creative, and excellent. Watch for overuse of these words in your resume.


Birth date. Some things are better left unsaid and that’s certainly the case when it comes to your age. Even if you think having several years of experience is a benefit that can give you an edge over other candidates, hiring managers don’t want to have any information that could be perceived as creating an age-based bias. Instead, showcase your experience by including really strong descriptions of the jobs you’ve had and the projects you’ve overseen.”

Sarah Fell, Senior Technical Recruiter


Wondering what else you should avoid in your resume? Read this blog post for on how to edit your resume and put your best foot forward.