Hands-up if you use weasel words in your resume.
Weasel words, (thanks to my friend and colleague Karalyn Brown of Interview IQ who coined the term and shares my distaste) are namby-pamby, wishy-washy, nothing words and phrases. Yes, they can be jargonistic terms that people think sound cool like “results oriented” or “proven track record of achievement in” or “action-oriented” but for me, they’re less about well-worn clichés and more about well, nothingness.
Hands-up if you use the term “ability to” in your resume.
“Ability to” is a good example of a weasel word. After all, you’re not really committing yourself by using it are you?
If you say you are able to do something, does it say you can do it?
Does it say you’re good at at?
No, it just indicates you have an ability to do it, presumably if the time is right and the planets are in alignment and you feel like doing it. Or maybe it says you could do it because you are able to, but you’re not very good at it, or you’re not experienced at it.
So tell me why you want to use this phrase in your resume again?
Think of all the things you may have the ability to do. Why the world is your oyster! Personally, I have the ability to be a great singer… if could hold a tune. But the ability to do so exists. I have a voice that is capable of making sound and I guess I could learn!
On the other hand, I am expert in writing resumes. I have more than 21 years of experience of positioning people to market themselves effectively for their next big gig. No ability to about it.
There are a lot of weasel words out there cropping up on resumes and underselling job candidates. Terms like “involved in” (what does that mean exactly?) and “arranged” and “organised”. In a resume these kiss-of-death words don’t even come close to describing what it is you do.
Don’t sell yourself short.
If you can do something and do it well, then claim it!