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Are There BEST Versus WORST Words In A Resume?

I was recently tweeted an article on the best and worst words for inclusion in a resume.  This is one of many articles I have seen on this topic.  The theme is a familiar one – interview questions and the best answers, etc. 

And then – two ‘standard’ cover letters arrived

  • The first:  Perhaps you can speak with me for a few minutes regarding your firm’s services?  I would also like to have a confidential conversation about the types of clients you serve and the candidates you source.
  • The second:  I’m a senior level visionary leader and business development executive with a background in . . . . . .

Both are boilerplate language from some career transition book that says to send these out to recruiters and you will get calls, e-mails, interviews and jobs.

Assumption of originality?

My work colleagues and I receive thousands of ‘cold’ e-mails every year.  I assume my competitors do as well – we are on the same lists.  The authors are well-meaning; I am the Principal of a Retained Search Firm – and I know of jobs.  They are in transition and need leads that are not posted.  They send the same letter to each person.  Sometimes they are individually ‘addressed’ (to David); some are canned (To Whom It May Concern). 

  • NOTE – my e-mail address starts with David – the 'To Whom' greeting does not work with me. 

The problem is – we get many of these from people using the same source documents.  These documents (books, articles, etc.) give language and specific word suggestions – things to use and things to not use. 

Please get our attention by being an original – we want to know who YOU are 

‘Cover e-mails’ and resumes are designed to be documents that represent you, not the words suggested by authors.  Stand out be being an original, not copying the words and works of authors.  We are more likely to respond and want to get to know you. And more importantly, our clients want 'originals', not people using a 'standard' (non-original) solution.