Revamp Your Resume: 20 Outdated Buzzwords to Banish in 2024 and What to Say Instead

Improve your English language resume with TER's expert insights. Discover 20 outdated resume buzzwords to avoid in 2024 and powerful alternatives to include instead in this guide.


3/4/20248 min read

English resume buzzwords being emptied into the bin.
English resume buzzwords being emptied into the bin.

Revamp Your Resume: 20 Outdated Buzzwords to Banish in 2024 and What to Say Instead

Your resume acts as the first stage of you getting your dream job, showcasing your professional journey, so the choice of words it contains is crucial — yet some phrases have lost their impact. In 2024 employers are getting wiser to this, coupled with the challenge of automated HR software becoming a bigger-and-bigger barrier, sometimes stopping your resume before it is even seen by a human. So, now is the time to breathe new life into your English resume by discarding tired buzzwords that hinder your success. Discover which words and phrases to remove, and suggestions to change them for, in our handy guide below.

If you are still yet to write a resume, check out our other articles here, and here, or fill in the contact form for a FREE initial consultation.

Now, let's get into the guide!

The Buzzword Epidemic in Resumes

The buzzword epidemic is a long-held gripe for recruiters all over the world. We’ve all been guilty of peppering our resumes with those in-vogue, overused phrases like "detail-oriented" and "dynamic team player." Recruiters and hiring managers, including us, have seen it all, and unfortunately, it's often a one-way ticket to the rejection pile. These terms do little to differentiate you or effectively communicate your unique value proposition, instead signaling a lack of originality and depth, which is not what you want your potential employer to take away from your application, especially when you are in a competitive career environment like Thailand.

Why Avoid These Buzzwords?

They Are Meaningless

It’s simple — they've lost their power to impress. Think about it - if everyone is "results-driven," then the term is pointless. Such phrases diminish your ability to stand out from all of the other candidates, they’ve become a shorthand for "this is a generic resume that I've not put much effort into", often signaling to hiring professionals that you might not have much to say beyond a few clichés, which may lead them to question the level of effort you would put into the role if you can't be bothered to invest effort in your resume.

Think Of Your Audience

This is crucial, especially considering the main focus of this site: English resumes in ESL markets. Recruiters might not even understand what the buzzword means, rendering it at best ineffective, and at worst, a complete turnoff.

Not Only Boring, Also Vague

In addition, buzzwords are often vague and don't provide any specific information about your skills or experience, making it difficult for employers to understand what you actually bring to the table.

It's Not Just Humans You Need To Consider

In a more practical sense, the overuse of buzzwords could lead to electronic screening systems, designed to filter out applications before a human lays eyes on them, flagging your resume as generic or unoriginal. If you want your resume to get past these gatekeepers and into the hands of the relevant hiring managers, it’s time to get rid of these pesky buzzwords.

Common Resume Buzzwords to Ditch

Here's a culling list of 20 stale terms that need to be permanently deleted from your resume.

  • Hardworking: The term overstates the obvious — you should be hardworking anyway, you don't need to clarify it, even if you weren't, you wouldn't write "I'm lazy" on your resume!

  • Detail-Oriented: It's more compelling to show a meticulous approach in the narrative of your work, rather than stating it as a fact.

  • Proactive: While it’s commendable to take initiative, providing concrete examples is more persuasive than merely claiming to be proactive.

  • Go-Getter: What even is a go-getter? Be specific, it is immensely more valuable over generic motivation buzzwords.

  • Results-Driven: Focusing on outcomes could mean anything; be specific about the results you delivered instead.

  • Team Player/Team Oriented: Almost all jobs involve some level of teamwork, highlight successful collaborations instead.

  • Innovative: Innovation is a very broad term and on its own, without context, it’s just white noise.

  • Self-Motivated: Similar to "hardworking" it is stating the obvious - no one is going to want to employ someone that needs constant motivational interaction, everyone should have a degree of self-motivation.

  • Dependable/Reliable: This is expected; it's not really something to brag about.

  • Dynamic: This term has, urm - lost its dynamism through overuse.

  • Excellent Communication Skills: Employers expect you to communicate well. Give examples through your storytelling, not just a grand claim.

  • Exceptional Track Record: What's exceptional to you might be average to the employer, showcase this with examples as specifics always win.

  • Leadership Skills: Leading what? On it's own its largely meaningless, instead, showcase experiences where you effectively led a team or project.

  • Punctual: Another baseline expectation you claim to embody that will not tip the scales in your favour, not to mention the waste of pixels and electric spent typing it.

  • Multi-Tasker: Context is key here. Are you efficient at handling multiple projects or do too many tasks lead to spread-thin results?

  • Strategic Thinker: Using better descriptive terms for your specific thought leadership will be more memorable than an umbrella term like this.

  • Forward-Thinking: Yawn, this is vague and meaningless unless it’s linked to a progressive approach to a specific business challenge.

  • Cutting-Edge: Flashy and empty without proof - including this without context also proves the exact opposite. What defines cutting-edge in the context of your work?

  • Customer-Focused: Again, expected. Share instances where your customer focus made a tangible difference.

  • Passionate: Passion has to manifest itself to be meaningful, include anecdotes demonstrating your passion in action.

Crafting a Winning English Resume: Alternatives to Buzzwords

Now that you're aware of which words to avoid, it's time to discuss what you should use instead. Below, for each of the outdated buzzwords, we’ll suggest some potential alternative phrases or keywords that can elevate the content of your resume. These alternatives, when used thoughtfully, can help you articulate your skills and experiences in a much more powerful and precise manner.

As mentioned previously, including an example when appropriate is always a good idea.

1. Hardworking

Swap "hardworking" with:

  • Devoted to a high standard of work.

  • Diligent at ensuring tasks are completed on time and to expectation.

  • Tenacious in pursuing objectives and achieving outcomes.\

2. Detail-Oriented

Replace "detail-oriented" with:

  • Meticulous in reviewing work for quality and accuracy.

  • Vigilant at noticing and addressing small errors that could have big consequences.

  • Thorough in analysis and execution of complex tasks.

3. Proactive

Opt for more clarity:

  • Initiative-Driven in recognizing and addressing challenges before they manifest.

  • Anticipatory in considering future needs and positioning yourself and the company to meet them.

  • Resourceful in finding solutions without explicit direction.

4. Go-Getter

What’s your go-to for go-getter? Try these:

  • Action-Oriented in translating ideas into plans and execution.

  • Driven by Challenges that require determination and ingenuity.

  • Ambitious in setting and pursuing challenging goals.

5. Results-Driven

Be more descriptive with and include real life examples:

  • Focused On Delivering Measurable Results

  • Obsessed with Outcomes

  • Relish Pursuing Tangible Achievements

6. Team Player

Alternatives that reflect collaboration:

  • Partnership-Focused in achieving mutual success.

  • Harmony-Seeking to foster cooperation across diverse teams.

  • Contributing to a Cohesive Unit

7. Innovative

Set yourself apart as:

  • A Creator of Disruptive Solutions

  • A Pioneer of Change

  • A Developer of Novel Approaches

8. Self-Motivated

Show, don’t just tell:

  • Initiative-Seeking in steering advancement with your own drive.

  • Self-Directed Individual who needs little prompting to get started.

  • Thrives on Autonomy

9. Dependable/Reliable

Give concrete assurances and examples:

  • Consistent Performer Across all Tasks

  • Dedicated to Organisational Goals

  • Trusted to Lead the ***** Team

10. Dynamic

Show how dynamic you are by changing this for:

  • Proficient in Pursuing Varied Tasks

  • Flexible and Strategic in Approach

  • Adept at Navigating Multifaceted Challenges

11. Excellent Communication Skills

Be more dynamic:

  • Articulate in Any Context

  • Persuasive Presenter During Sales Conversations

  • Masterful at Transmitting Complex Ideas

12. Exceptional Track Record

Make it personal:

  • A Certifiable History of Overachieving

  • Proven Record of Achieving Superior Results

  • Architect of Implementing Breakthrough Business Processes

13. Leadership Skills

Get specific:

  • Adept at Guiding Teams Through Pressured Projects

  • Strategist of High-Performance Environments

  • Champion of Team Success

14. Punctual

Be precise:

  • Proficient in On-Time Project Delivery

  • Exceptional at Adhering to Time-Critical Tasks

  • Rigorous in Meeting Deadlines

15. Multi-Tasker

Clarify your juggling act:

  • Skilled at Precisely Juggling a Range of Tasks

  • Adept at Handling Multiple Diverse Tasks

  • Efficient at Coordinating Multiple Workstreams

16. Strategic Thinker

Reveal your thought process:

  • Exceptional in Real-Time Strategic Adaptation

  • Adept at Formulating Tactics to Achieve Goals

  • Skilled at Long Term Business Planning

17. Forward-Thinking

Define how this will help the company:

  • Holistic Process when Creating Future Business Plans

  • Progressive Approach to Planned Projects

  • Facilitator of Transformational Strategic Changes

18. Cutting-Edge

Show how you are!:

  • Pioneer of Creating Breakthrough New Business Processes

  • Leader in Implementing Novel Techniques

  • Receptive to Industry Evolution

19. Customer-Focused

Share customer/client stories:

  • Led by Client Satisfaction

  • Customer Engagement Specialist

  • User-Focused Experience Designer

20. Passionate

Turn passion into conviction:

  • Dedicated to the Company Mission

  • Ardent in My Pursuance of ****

  • Eager to Make a Positive Impact on the **** Industry

Tailoring Your Resume for Thailand in 2024

As we've discussed previously here, the best English language resumes and cover letters are tailored to the job you're applying for and the company you're applying to. Generic applications won't cut it, and neither will generic buzzwords, especially in the competitive Thailand job market. Take the time to understand the specifics of each job and emphasize the experiences and skills that are directly relevant, and mirror the terminology and key skills listed in the job description to highlight your fit for the role.

This isn’t about lying or embellishing on your resume; it’s about framing the truth in the most eye-catching and accurate manner. The result is a resume that reads less like a generic job application and more like the perfect candidate presenting their best self.


The employment landscape in Thailand and the wider world is competitive, and with the rise of AI in job application processing, jobseekers must do all they can to grab hiring managers' attention through their application.

By replacing the above buzzwords with unique and impactful language and including examples that highlights your skills and accomplishments, you are more likely to catch the eye of a hiring manager and secure that interview.

In your quest to perfect your resume, don't forget that there are services and professionals who can guide you through the process, so if you feel lost or unsure about your resume's transformation, consider seeking the expertise of a reputable resume writing service like us here at TER. Services like ours can be invaluable in helping you create a positive and informative narrative of your career through an exceptional English Language Resume.

For more information on how we can help you, please fill in our form at the top of the page, or visit our contact page here.

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A recruiter confused by what is written on the english resumes he is reading
A recruiter confused by what is written on the english resumes he is reading
Computer says no, referring to automated job application system rejection
Computer says no, referring to automated job application system rejection
A Happy thai woman with an english resume
A Happy thai woman with an english resume
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