Many job hunters say they want to differentiate themselves — to be the one an employer will go bananas over. Then they go and write gibberish on their résumés and LinkedIn profiles, and then, if they’re lucky enough to get interviewed, they repeat it out loud:
“I deliver strategic solutions that support successful achievement of business objectives and goals.”
Puh-leeeeze. You have to do better than that.
I beg this of people who send me their résumés and cover letters or corner me in grocery stores to ask “just one quick question” and describe themselves with such vacant vocabulary.
“But it sounds good!” they say.
“What’s so good about it?” I ask.
They never can say. They simply go on to defend it: “So-and-so used it on his résumé.”
Let me tell you where so-and-so got it: from what’s-his-name. He got it from what’s-her-face. And she got it from old whose-it. So now you all sound the same.
And it never was a decent sentence in the first place.
Speaking of bad sentences, here are some doozies that people constructed after stealing disparate phrases they liked from what’s-his-name’s résumé and what’s-her-face’s LinkedIn profile:
■ I headed the implementation in accelerating the project as it related to re-establishing leadership reputation.
■ I was successful in connecting with influencers to leverage success relative to a broad array of matters.
■ I was responsible for providing assistance in the development, implementation and maintenance of a project thereby ensuring the needs of the company were met.
■ I can utilize a broad scope of industry knowledge and dynamic business acumen towards assisting with operations which drives multi-faceted operations growth.
■ I served to increase department’s requirement rigor and implementation of changeover.
■ I have multicultural dexterity and business acumen.
■ My skills ensure optimal solutions delivery while leveraging workplace intelligence.
■ I certify and submit requirement and exchange documentation responsible for other functions that may be assigned.
Can you say anything but “Huh?” to these?
Certainly, you want to set parameters and make particular points when representing yourself. But the only way you’re supposed to sound is like an intelligent, clear-thinking professional who can communicate effectively.
Incoherent drivel does not work in your favor.
If you want to stand out from everyone else, do the hard work. Sit down and figure out what you do that no one but you can claim to have done.
Then construct sentences that clearly illustrate what that is and why it matters.
Write so that even my mother gets it. She is very smart but doesn’t know what a cross-functional village is. (I haven’t found anyone who does.)
Instead of lazily throwing out sentences like “I have multicultural dexterity and business acumen” and expecting others to figure it out, say what you mean.
Trust me. You will stand out because few people bother to do that.
Career consultant Andrea Kay is the author of “Life’s a Bitch and Then You Change Careers: 9 Steps to Get Out of Your Funk and On to Your Future.”