When it comes to interviews and resume advice, one of the hardest topics to handle is self-description. Some words may be more superlative than others and can make a job seeker more appealing to recruiters and hiring managers. However, be careful to avoid any of these ways to describe yourself to a potential employer.
One of the most overused words in the job hunting process is innovative. While it may be a decent alternative to describing yourself as creative or original, it’s become so oversaturated that it doesn’t carry weight anymore with recruiters. In fact, simply placing it on your resume may tell a manager that you actually aren’t remotely innovative at all.
If you consider yourself creative, don’t say that you are – show that you are. Describe a project or event that succeeded because of your innovation. Explain the processes you used to achieve success and the original ideas you came up with to get there. Give the recruiter something tangible that conveys your creativity and leave the bland vocabulary at home.
Everyone is motivated. From executives down to the interns shuffling incoming mail in the basement of the office. Everybody is looking ahead to the future for the next opportunity. No one should be content with where they are or what they’re doing. Telling a manager or recruiter that you’re motivated shows them that you don’t know the first thing about motivation. It’s something they expect out of incoming applicants so using it to describe yourself is redundant and boring.
Instead, opt to tell a story about a time you went above and beyond expectations. Better yet, explain why you want to specifically work for their company. Describe a particular aspect of their business or well-known projects they’ve completed that interest you and get you excited to be a part of their team.
When it comes to jobs for entry level graduates, managers are certainly looking for someone to effectively fill an open role. But sitting in an interview and describing yourself as results-oriented is really just a fancy way to say you get work done. Unfortunately, this is what a job entails and telling a manager that can make them feel you don’t particularly care about what their business does. A message may be sent that you’re simply looking to show up, do your work, collect your paycheck and then leave.
It’s possible to overstress your work ethic and leave no room to describe your successes. Discuss a project you lead or where you improved an aspect of company performance. Managers want to hear details about achievements, not just a highlight reel of fluff words.
4. Team player
The success of a business often relies on the employees’ ability to collaborate and achieve goals as a single entity. Without working together, companies would fold faster than they opened and leave people wondering what happened. While being able to complete projects with little direction is a noteworthy attribute, teamwork is essential and managers expect you to be capable of working with others to improve the company.
Tell them about a specific instance where you took charge of a group project or assignment and made sure everyone – including yourself – did their part. It may seem admirable that you decided to lead your team, managers want to know that you didn’t let your responsibilities slide in the wake of putting yourself in charge.
Even with an improving economy and a steadily shrinking unemployment rate, college graduates are still panicky when it comes to finding work. Chances are good that the position you’re applying to or interviewing for isn’t particularly thrilling enough to describe yourself as passionate about it. Steer away from this one as much as possible
Unless you’re one of the lucky few who are able to pursue an entry level job in their career track, using the word passionate can seem overzealous. Instead try to explain how you specialize in a specific field or spent a lot of time concentrating on honing your abilities for a position. Study the job description and know how to sell yourself for the role by detailing any distinct history or qualifications you have with the requirements.
It’s important to remember that during the interviewing process, managers aren’t looking for reasons why you should work for them. All of your employment qualifications are hopefully laid out clearly on your resume for them to see. They can read what you’ve done and are now looking for any reason not to hire you for the job. Don’t give them one. Take the time to be more descriptive and unique with how you present yourself. It can make a big difference between starting your career before graduation or being stuck without work for six months after earning your degree.
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