Words That Need to be Deleted From Your Resume ASAP

What are the most useless, meaningless and/or ridiculous "resume words"?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Answer by Erin Berkery Rovner, Career Advisor and Former Recruiter


It is single-handedly the most useless adjective on a resume -- it essentially boils down to saying nothing new about the nouns that it prefaces.

  • Worked on various projects

  • Held various jobs over the course of the internship
  • Used various word processing programs
  • Wrote various words on my resume to sound important
  • In almost any example I can think of it replaces the word 'different'. People are using it to demarcate separate projects they worked on or duties they performed. Except, if you were to write the word 'different' instead of various, your resume would come off like a sullen teen:

    • I worked on a few different projects, but whatever, they weren't really descriptive, just various.

    I really think that if you are going to use the word various, you should delete it. The difference between this sentence:

    • Worked on various projects

    And this one:

    • Worked on projects

    ... is nothing.

    Nobody [will read] the second sentence and [think] "Well, they didn't specifically say that they worked on different disparate projects, so despite the plural nature of the word projects, I'm going to assume that they only worked on one project..." And if someone did think that, let's face it, you're hiring decisions are being made by someone questionable and it probably doesn't matter what you write on your CV.

    And really with various, why bother? You should be specific or go home!

    Truly -- either tell me how many projects you worked on or what they were, but if you tell me various projects, you better have a hell of a lot of other adjectives surrounding it.

    Let's face it, do you want to hire this gal:

    • Worked on four monthly projects with collaborative teams.

    Which is still pretty vague -- let's be honest, I have no idea what you're doing except working with people in a project based environment, but it's still better than:

    • Worked on various projects.

    I deleted various from almost every resume I review, and I have not yet encountered a sentence that didn't make logical and grammatical sense without it.


    Here are some words I see often and find extraordinary and useless:

    • Visionary

  • Expert
  • Futurist
  • Seasoned
  • Veteran
  • Path-breaking
  • Change agent
  • Results-oriented
  • ...

    Answer by Brian Hennessy, Film and TV Producer

    This is an easy one for me -- any derivative of the word SYNERGY. Synergies, synergic, and synergism (which actually sounds a little profane). This was actually a clever buzz word about ten years ago as I would often hear it at pretentious cocktail parties and trade conventions. Then I saw it popping up in just about every context on every resume that I would come across. Now it just makes me roll my eyes:

    • Often called upon to be responsible for the synergy of department resources.

  • Consistently executed the synergy of company directives.
  • Developed, managed, and cultivated the synergy of all employees.
  • I'll even see this word used on resumes for menial work in restaurant and hospitality jobs. WHY?! It's blatantly overused and needs to be at the top of the list.

    More questions on Quora: