Phrases to Kill Your Search, #3

No Trespassing Signs

Here’s the next of my search-killing phrases:


“I’m a results-oriented professional…”


or this variation:


“Proven results in…”


These are used all the time in résumés and cover letters, or even in oral 30-second pitches…and they do absolutely nothing for you.


Remember the adult voices on all the Charlie Brown specials, how they were purposely designed not to be understood?  That’s basically what empty phrases like these sound like; all the other party reads or hears is “blah, blah, blah.


The problem is that these are just statements that you produce results, instead of demonstrations.  It’s easy to simply say you produce results or are results-oriented, and saying it doesn’t make it true, or make me any more likely to believe it.


Instead, give concrete examples of the results you produce.  Let the readers and listeners conclude from your examples that you are ‘results-oriented’, instead of trying to hit them over the head with it.


For example, if I was trying to show someone that I was “results-oriented,” instead of:


“I have proven results in helping my clients with their job searches.”


This would be much more powerful:


“Kevin had been out of work for 2 years, and within a few months of working together was back at the job and pay he deserved. And a simple technique I showed him earned him an additional $10,000 of base salary.”




“Tom had 15 months of interviews without a single offer.  Within 1 week of attending my Winning Interviews course, he was weighing 2 competitive job offers.”


So strike empty statements that say you have results from your repertoire, and instead, show the proof of the results.


Here’s the 4th in the series.

9 thoughts on “Phrases to Kill Your Search, #3”

  1. Let’s face it…all skills are transferable in multiple areas of your life so I don’t think it needs to be mentioned. I think employers are more interested in your specialized skills in regard to the job that they are trying to fill.

  2. “seasoned executive”… makes me think they’re talking about a nice steak.

    Also, objective statements that sound like empty mission statements (which I also despise)… “join a company where I can use my skills to advance the organization…” Sorry, I was looking for a financial analyst.

  3. Donovan Scott Lewis

    These are tough times for anyone involved in Consulting Engineering. Obama promised stimulus money for infrastructure. It only been a trickle. I have a strong Resume of 19 years of experience, and have been in the job market for 6 months. I’m seeing the reality of the Recession that we are still in.

  4. I think these people are being way too judgmental. why are you employers/interviewers so hard on people? we are people, not machines nor robots and you obviously wish we were. no one is perfect. after reading so many things on ‘what not to do, what not to say, the wrong facial expressions, the wrong gestures, the wrong cloths colors, the wrong expression in the eyes, etc. etc. etc., i have given up my job search after ten months. i guess even existing is a problem anymore. where can i get a body, mind, gesture, ethnic, gender transfer already, so i can be eligible for a job i’m qualified for? i think interviewers need to be more human and accepting of others. what, do they think they’re all knowing gods or something? yes, they do. the sad part is my employers who interviewed me are defective to the point of pain. i guess they just get into the self-righteous ‘i am a god’ mode when given the power to hire. my message to them: loosen up, get humble already!

  5. Although I might have expressed myself differently, I totally agree with Ellie.

    We are bombarded daily (hourly!) with advice on what to do and what not to do on resumes, cover letters and in interviews. An HR manager I used to work with told me not to bother with cover letters – she "never reads them" !!!
    Because no one can agree, I take everything with a grain of salt and just try to be myself. 15 recruiters and hiring managers, 20 opinions.

    A job interview is the biggest self-esteem killer there is. They do not want to hire you; they want to find a way to NOT hire you — to filter you OUT, so they can keep looking until they find someone perfect. Believe me – I’ve been passed over for positions and it’s not too long before the perfect candidate turns out to be not so perfect after all…
    All we want is a job… and a chance to prove that we will be a hard working, honest and reliable individual who WILL contribute to the success of your company. Isn’t that what you want? That’s what I’m always told.

  6. I can understand how important results and accomplishments are to the organization, but I am finding it difficult to quantify some accomplishments. I’m sure I must have them, but I feel like I have been withheld information by managers as to how my performance is impacting the organization. We (our team) didn’t always get ‘the big picture’. Would it be appropriate to ask ‘higher up’ professionals how our actions affect the profits and organization as a whole? Why is this information withheld?

  7. This all seems so negative! It’s always easy to point out " what not to do" Is it that difficult to suggest " what works, what to do"? What if these blogs and posts about interviews and resumes were positive and productive? The results would be far more effective. Thanks!

    1. RC:
      I’m not sure what you mean – the post did include a concrete example of how to shift from using the empty phrase to something that would be meaningful.

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