Career & Jobs

Survey: The Top 10 Phrases To Use On Job Postings And Resumés

Without the right words and phrases in your job posting, you’re not going to attract the right candidates. Similarly, for job seekers, there are phrases to avoid on your CV, your LinkedIn profile and maybe every part of your career as well. At least, that’s what data from Skynova shows, based on research into what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to attracting employees. If you want to advertise an open position, choose your words carefully. For applicants applying for a job, be sure you clean up your resumé and LinkedIn profile: avoid these show-stopping phrases if you want to succeed.

Have you ever worked for a company with a guru? You know, the super go-getter who accomplishes every presentation with blazing speed and never makes a mistake? (Is this guru actually a robot?) In reality, these co-workers rarely, if ever, exist. In a survey of over 1,000 job seekers and HR professionals, 25% of respondents said using the word “guru” left a negative impression.

So, how do you establish credibility as a candidate? Choose your words carefully. Here are the other words and phrases to avoid:

Top 5 Words to Avoid on Your Resumé or LinkedIn Profile

  1. guru
  2. competitive
  3. ninja
  4. challenge
  5. wizard

For employers, here are the “deal-breakers” you need to know about. Using this chart, you can see what applicants want, what pulls people towards your posts – and what turns them off as well:

Creating a Positive Impression in Your Job Posting

According to the Skynova survey,

  • 7 in 10 job seekers consider salary the most important aspect of a job posting, followed by benefits (64%)
  • 74% of job postings list a salary: 80% list a salary range, while 20% list a specific figure. Job seekers are more likely to apply for a job that lists a specific figure rather than a salary range
  • According to job seekers, 49% of job postings use annoying buzzwords and 38% reference internal jargon.

The survey provides five words that are considered useful and attractive to respondents. Those top words are:

  1. Growth – 42%
  2. Flexible – 36%
  3. Motivated – 16%
  4. Challenge – 12%
  5. Creative – 5%

The point, in a difficult and tight job market, is to provide the things that employees want. Not in a way that makes promises you can’t keep, but in a way that shares how you have designed the world of work to fit the candidates.

Do You Need to Include Salary Info, in a Job Posting?

Another interesting aspect of the survey: salary details. For example, some jobs may list a salary or compensation range, while similar ads don’t mention any salary level. Does the absence of a specified salary deter potential applicants? In this survey, respondents said specifics on salary don’t move the needle.

When presented with two similar job postings—one with a salary listed and one without—the same number of respondents (72%) said they were likely to apply. Although 20% of job postings mentioning a salary provided a specific salary figure, 80% provided a range—giving both employer and potential employee some room for negotiation. Overall, 74% of job postings mentioned a salary or wage.

So, what’s the right decision for you and your organization? Remember that salary is just one part of the equation. Culture also counts. Lifestyle counts. Not all paychecks are created equally, and today’s workforce has more choices than ever before. The ability to be creative, challenged and growing is at the top of the list for many candidates.

The balancing act, for employers and job seekers: saying who you really are. Consider that identifying yourself, or describing your opportunity, is often best phrased in terms of the audience you serve. For job seekers, what is the solution you provide? For organizations, what is the environment you offer? You don’t have to be a guru to be clear on your value. And, when there’s mutual alignment, that next career opportunity is clear.

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