John Hadley's Career Accelerator Blog
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January 2022
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Where’s The Beef?
Filed under: General, Résumé
Posted by: John Hadley @ 8:27 pm

OK, I’m probably dating myself here…remember those Wendy’s commercials in the 1980’s, when a little old lady ordered competititors burgers, only to exclaim “Where’s the beef?”

I’m reminded of those ads when I see resumes that say things like “results-oriented”, “highly motivated”, “outstanding communication skills”, and one of my favorites, “proven results in …”

These are empty phrases that only detract from your message.  Your resume and the statements you make should demonstrate these things; if you have to specifically say them, then you aren’t doing your job in what you are presenting.

Any time I see “Proven results in …”, my reaction is that I’ll believe it when I see the proof.  And if you are showing me the proof, then why do you need to tell me you have “proven results”?

There is also a downside to adjectives.  Any time you have to tell me up front you have something, instead of just demonstrating it, you reduce your credibility.  When you tell me, for example, about your “outstanding” achievement, you risk coming across as a braggart, and the reader is inclined to be skeptical.  On the other hand, if you simply present an achievement that is truly outstanding, omiting the adjective, readers are led to conclude it really is outstanding, and then you get much more credit for it in their minds.

So next time you are sitting down to compose your powerful description of the package you have to offer, delete all of the empty phrases and replace them with demonstrations. 

Instead of saying you are “results-oriented”, show me results and let me decide you are results-oriented.

In place of “proven results”, show the results themselves.

Instead of “outstanding communication skills”, give an example of those skills you are so proud of.


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