When you write a resume, word choice matters. This probably doesn’t surprise you, but maybe some of the words you’re not supposed to include will come as a surprise. The folks at ZipRecruiter shared this infographic with me. It highlights analysis they’ve done on over three million resumes and cover letters in their database. They’ve drawn their conclusions based on which cover letters and resumes are ranked by hiring managers as “five star” (the top rating) versus the “one star” rankings.

To me, the most interesting is the section titled, “Avoid These Words.” I would have thought words like “learning” and “develop” would have positive connotations. As with everything, context is important. It turns out that these words are rated less favorably by hiring managers who use  ZipRecruiter’s services. Evidently, these words give the impression that the applicant is still in “learning” mode or is more focused on building their career than on contributing to the company’s goals.

Many people who are hiring managers are readers of The People Equation. Tell me: do you agree with these findings? What words on a resume appeal to you?

perfect resume ZipRecruiter infographic

Disclosure: ZipRecruiting shared this infographic with me. I received no compensation for publishing this post and I was free to form my own opinions.


Leadership Decision-Making – Both Science and Art

July 24, 2014

Making effective decisions is a vital leadership competency. There are many decision-making models that can help create a structure for determining an outcome. But just because you have a systematic model doesn’t mean you’ll choose the best outcome. You need the “art” of decisions as well: the human brain’s unique capacity to imagine, predict and […]

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5 Real-Life Examples of Creating Positive Workplace Morale

July 21, 2014

Think you can’t have fun, throw money at employees (literally!) and grow the company’s revenues by 25% all at the same time? It’s possible and the examples below prove it. Meet Bob Richards, a seasoned manufacturing executive who has tried what skeptics would call “outlandish” tactics to create a workplace environment in which employees are […]

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15 Essays About Parenting and Leadership

July 18, 2014

Back before I had kids, I thought I was a really good leader. Maybe I was, but now that I’m 13 years into this parenting thing, there are definitely some additional realizations that have come into my field of vision. Karin Hurt, founder of the blog Let’s Grow Leaders, has also seen the parallels between parenting and great […]

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Retain Your Top Talent with These 4 Stay Interview Tips

July 14, 2014

As a leader, you know it the minute your most talented employee walks into your office — she is going to resign. You chastise yourself: why didn’t I see it coming? If you are honest with yourself, you know that in some way, you did see it coming. You just didn’t take the time to […]

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Ideas for How to Implement Stay Interviews at Your Company

July 9, 2014

  “Stay interviews”—one-to-one career conversations that help leaders determine which employees are a top “flight risk” from the company—are the subject of my June articles at the HR Answers page.   If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of stay interviews, start with this primer: Stay Interviews: A Low-Cost Solution for Improved Employee Retention in which you’ll […]

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Leadership by Ranting is No Way to Inspire People

June 30, 2014

It’s tough to respect a leader who’s always losing his cool. Case in point: during college, I worked in a family-owned Italian restaurant whose proprietor had a fiery, larger-than-life personality. When he was frustrated, ‘Tony” was prone to emotional outbursts. One day, I received this upbraiding for not setting up the salad bar correctly: “You […]

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Build Employee Engagement through These 8 Daily Actions

June 23, 2014

How does a leader motivate and engage his staff? As a manager, there are hundreds of opportunities each day to create a workplace that fosters employee creativity, engagement and productivity. When I interviewed Bob Richards, a director-level leader for a Fortune 500 organization about creating positive workplace morale, I got a bonus: a list from […]

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30 Articles on Navigating Change

June 20, 2014

This month’s Frontline Festival from Karin Hurt’s blog Let’s Grow Leaders focuses on change. Not surprisingly, Karin had a record number of submissions for this topic. The phrase “how to deal with change” is a frequent keyword search for this blog. People are highly curious about how to deal with transitions and navigate changing situations. […]

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Leadership Musicality – 3 Tips to Make Your Communication Hit the Right Notes

June 16, 2014

When my daughter started ukulele lessons, her instructor explained that music is composed of three things: “melody,” which is made up of notes along the scale, “harmony,” which is the chords, and “rhythm,” the beat of the music. In listening to this explanation, it was easy to draw parallels to how leaders communicate messages to […]

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