(MoneyWatch) The resume, in some ways, is similar to the Internet. Long before the Web was around, resumes used key words to garner interest. And they still do. While we're all becoming increasingly aware of Search Engine Optimization (aka SEO) and how keywords affect Google searches (and therefore your Internet reach), carefully chosen words and phrases on resumes are as important as ever.
After all, you only have one page to grab someone's attention and hold it long enough for them to decide that you're worthy of a job interview. So you don't want to waste any precious real estate in your resume with worthless, or even hurtful, phrases. Here are three such phrases to delete immediately, along with far more effective ones to try instead.
"Completed all marketing duties for midsize PR firm."
Blanket statements and generic wording make your resume much more likely to end up in the recycling bin than in the "must call" pile. Delete "anything on your resume that can be written by the person who did the job before, with, or after you," says Brad Karsh, president of JobBound/JB Training Solutions. Instead, be specific about your accomplishments. "Infuse your resume with numbers, data, and records," suggests Karsh.
This commonly used phrase is boring and vague. "Replace 'responsible for' with action verbs, like 'hired,' 'supervised,' and 'delegated assignments to staff of seven,'" advises Susan Whitcomb, author of "Resume Magic." Ask yourself, "What did I do?" Then answer that question on your resume.
"References available upon request."
Both Karsh and Whitcomb say to nix this line. Why? It's assumed you have references. It's also understood that you will complete any other required steps of the job interview process, whether completing a sample project, taking a typing test, or undergoing a background check. Save this valuable space for strong, descriptive examples of your experience. If you have space and want to encourage potential employers to look further into your work, direct them to an online portfolio or your LinkedIn page.