Main image of article 10 Resume Buzzwords That Have Lost Their Sizzle
Your resume should always address the IT manager’s needs, and showcase your mastery of the latest technical tools and techniques. But peppering your career history and cover letter with random buzzwords could make you seem phony and dated. Buzzwords are empty adjectives or terms that are trite, overused, or no longer relevant. Instead of making your resume stand out, they make your documents look boilerplate and unimaginative. “If you really want to use a cliché like ‘innovative’ or ‘outside-the-box thinker,’ build a theme around it and cite facts and examples,” said Don Goodman, president of, a resume writing firm based in North Carolina. “Everybody says they’re a team player… Unless you provide proof statements, it’s just a meaningless fluff word.” Click here to find technology jobs. Here are 10 out-of-date buzzwords that need to be purged from your resume.

IT-Business Alignment

IT is expected to support the company’s business objectives, so using this phrase won’t make you stand out. “You get paid to help business units achieve their goals,” said Jennifer Hay, resume creator and owner of IT Resume Service, a resume-writing firm based in Kirkland, Wash. “It’s no longer a differentiator. You’re expected to practice IT-business alignment when you work in IT.”


So overused, it no longer resonates. (Add "synergy" and "collaboration" to this list.)


So you don’t need someone standing over you with a whip? That doesn’t raise the bar or inspire confidence. Doing what you’re supposed to do is hardly a quality you want to brag about, especially if you’re asking for a big salary.

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“You get into IT to solve problems, it’s a required competency,” Hays said. “If you want to highlight your problem-solving abilities, offer examples or use a different phrase.”

Cost Reduction

Saving money is no longer a priority— it’s a basic expectation when you work in IT. “No organization became great by saving money,” Hays said. “You’re better off using the space to talk about achievements that boosted sales, created new products or services or patents or attracted new customers. Being cost conscious and miserly won’t set you apart.” 


It’s hard to make this claim unless you’re Steve Jobs, Goodman said. By the way, implementing off-the-shelf software isn’t innovative. You may be an effective or meticulous implementer, or you may be good at improving things, but that doesn’t make you an inventor. Companies are definitely looking for pioneering IT professionals, but you’re better off highlighting other qualities unless you’ve built an app from scratch or designed a revolutionary piece of hardware.

Motivated, Passionate, Enthusiastic

Words like this are hard to quantify, so they don’t help your appeal. Employers absolutely value these traits, but let your actions do the talking.

‘Responsible For’ and ‘Assisted With’

While you’re at it, remove “functioned as” or “duties included” from your resume. No one really cares about the items on your daily to-do list. IT managers want to know what you achieved.


Compared to what? Working aimlessly without a definitive goal? Substitute specific results for vague terms such as "multi-tasker" or "detail-oriented."

Big Data

“Everyone’s putting ‘Big Data’ on their resume because it’s hot,” Hays said. “Unfortunately, they look silly because they don’t know what ‘Big Data’ is. Managing a small database doesn’t qualify.” If you really are a "Big Data" guru, be sure to mention the size of the data sets you’ve worked with, as well as the velocity and variety of the data. Also note your experience with Hadoop, Pentaho, or other tools and platforms. Highlighting your impact is the best way to stake your claim as an expert in data analytics or any other field.

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