Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.


You don't really want to be writing résumés, do you?

You just want everyone to think you're wonderful.

Sadly, there are too many people in the world, which means you have to go through the motions to show how wonderful you truly are.

Even though some people are adept at creating original résumés, many just want to have one that will be noticed.

So the wise advisers at PurpleCV.co.uk did some research and would like to give you a little advice on creating a wonderful résumé. And no, this doesn't seem to involve making it purple.

Instead they offer words to avoid. Here they are in their splendor.

1. Hard-Working.

Oh, for goodness sake. You really think you need to write this? You might as well write "human." This one apparently tops the list of clichés.

2. Reliable.

Yes, yes. We all are. Until we go out one night and are still out the next morning. Twenty percent of people apparently have this word on their résumé. Why bother saying it? Why don't you write "nice person"?

3. Team Player.

This is particular nonsense in the U.S., where everyone accepts that it's an individualistic society and everyone is out for themselves. Self-sacrifice in business is a rarity. Some think it's nonexistent. So please don't pretend.

4. Dedicated.

You're dedicated to your sports team, to yoga, to your family, and to, who knows, naked macramé. An employer expects your commitment to the job. Which you'll give until you find ways of getting others to do your work for you.

5. Passionate.

This is a more emotive word for dedicated. It's equally useful.

6. Strategic Thinker.

This is to be contrasted with Linear Thinker. Or Not Much of a Thinker at All. Anyway, are you strategic for the company or just for yourself? I was merely musing. Writing this is a strategic mistake.

7. Results-Driven.

Of course you are. You're not Money-Driven or Ambition-Driven or Status-Driven or Power-Driven. You merely care about the results. You are the coach of the San Francisco 49ers. And it isn't going well. Who doesn't want results? Or perhaps you're Stating-the-Obvious-Driven?

8. Dynamic.

Imagine all those dynamic people who populate, say, banks, accounting firms, and law offices. They are so dynamic that, some days, their dynamism powers the lights, the computers, and even the coffee machine. It's a wonder the fire department isn't regularly called to put out the sparks. Yes, everyone is dynamic. Until the person gets bored, which is often quite quickly.

What about the good words, however? PurpleCV.co.uk suggests looking carefully at the job you're applying for and sprinkling in some keywords from it. This seems frightfully cynical. But if résumés are first sifted by machines these days (which some are), perhaps this is your best choice.

There is one other option. Create a résumé that actually sounds like you. Or does that seem too frightening?