When I review resumes I find many commonly used words and phrases that are either outright erroneous or simply useless on a resume. I hope this short series of resume tips will decrease the appearance of these words on resumes throughout the job-hunting market.
Words to delete from your resume: Various, variety, etc.
1. Various (or “a variety of”).
a. Performed legal research and wrote memoranda and briefs on various civil procedural and substantive issues.
b. Performed legal research and wrote memoranda and briefs on civil procedural and substantive issues, including unconscionability, issue preclusion and equitable estoppel.
Version a. leaves us with nothing to grab on to. The candidate in version b. sounds a lot more interesting doesn’t she? The trick is to list the actual things that constitute the variety. “Variety” on its own doesn’t tell us much.
I acknowledge that there might be exceptions to this rule. Sometimes it does work to use the word “various” or “variety.” My recommendation is to take it out and see if the bullet works better. It probably will. Please report back what you discover.
“Etc.” is just a variation on various. Example:
a. Managed, developed, and supervised programmatic activities that reduce recidivism through individual counseling, mentoring, family supportive counseling, girls empowerment groups, life skills classes, leadership workshops, etc.
This list is long enough. What could possibly be added by adding “etc.” to the end of it? It just leaves the reader hanging. Make your list, put an “and’ before the last item, and add to it in your interview if necessary. You are welcome to precede your list with “including” or “such as.”
OK now go look at your resume. Did you find various or etc.? Did you delete them? What was the impact? Share the results in the comments below.
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