When I started writing professional resumes nearly 15 years ago, the job search landscape was vastly different than it is today. Although the Internet was around, and job boards were just beginning to crop up, we still applied for jobs using paper and fax machines. Those days are long gone, and it’s been a constant battle to keep up with changes along the way.

Since then , we’ve seen the advent of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) where computers filter through key words before human eyes ever see them. Plus with the number of free resume samples floating all over the Internet, it’s become quite easy for job seekers with writer’s block to lift phrases and resume styles from others. It’s how crutch words and phrases quickly become the disdain of recruiters. My least favorite (and way overused word on a resume) is “successfully.” Career Builder recently released a survey of words that hiring managers have ranked as best and worst. While “successful” did not make their list, terms such as “team player,” “results-driven,” and “track record” were included as “least favorite.” As to words they liked, you’ll find them in the survey, but keep in mind, whatever recruiters favor today, may be out of favor tomorrow.

Therefore, use a thesaurus! Not all words have to parrot the vacancy announcement exactly. Instead, show off your broad knowledge of the English language. But if that’s not your forte, then hire an expert. We’re here to help.