What’s the opposite of a buzzword?


Mashable recently posted an article about words we need to stop using on our resumes. Here’s the breakdown:


I totally get this one, because I went through a phase where I liked to replace the word “use” with “utilize” in academic papers, falsely believing it made me sound smarter. But this is the exact problem with the word: it serves as a direct replacement for a more commonplace term, without contributing any nuanced meaning difference to justify the switch. At best, dropping utilize into a resume makes you sound like you’re trying too hard; at worst, you it makes you sound pretentious.


This one was new to me. I know you should quantify your resume accomplishments with exact numbers whenever possible, but I didn’t realize various gave off such a bad impression. It’s basically a filler word and it is often used instead of “different” (ie, worked on various projects/worked on different projects).


Similar to “various,” very is another filler word. It usually makes no real impact on the sentence. If you really want to express “very” anything, try replacing the two-word combo with a single more impactful word (very good becomes excellent and so on). This is a pretty solid tip for your writing in general – skip the “very” and find one word that encompasses what you really mean.

Any derivative of “synergy”

This tip was my favorite, less because of how it might pertain to my personal resume and more because I only ever hear people use “synergy” as the punchline to some kind of business joke.

miami synergy

The Mashable article says the term was “clever…ten years ago” and now makes resume readers want to roll their eyes. Like utilize, synergy has developed a pretentious feel. Plus, it comes off as business-talking-about-business, like you’re using the word just because you think you should.

In summary, I recommend you utilize Ctrl + F to very quickly remove the various mentions of synergy in your resume ASAP.


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