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6 Worst Words to Include in Your Resume

Sean Weinberg | July 13, 2011

Here at RezScore, we wanted to determine the worst words people use in their resume.  We asked Ike Okonkwo, RezScore data science intern, to help us tackle the problem by studying resumes across all industries.

To figure this out, we took a straightforward approach.  We looked through our corpus of resumes recently scored by hiring experts1 and picked out resumes that were obviously “good” or “bad”.   We applied a method called “term frequency inverse document frequency” to measure term salience and pick out the words which most strongest correlated with a bad resume.  Without further ado, the following are the list of horrible words people actually do include in their resume:

So we have clear takeaways.  First, winners don’t do drugs.  Our algorithm picked up a strongly negative reaction to any resume that mentioned drugs in a non-pharmaceutical context.  The time Harold and Kumar got baked and ate a burger may have been “awesome,” but it’s not resume material.  Additionally, “make up” was detrimental, whether it referred to cosmetics or fabricating statistics.  The word “nursery” is surprising and merits further research… for the time being we’d recommend anybody starting a tech incubator shy away from branding it as a “nursery of ideas.”

The most actionable takeaway is that you should never discuss your salary on your resume.  First you sell yourself in the interview, then you can haggle over your worth.

To obtain Ike’s full write-up, click here.  Be on the lookout for our obvious follow-up piece on the best words to include in your resume.  Until then, remember that the universe tends to unfold as it should.


If you work in the recruiting space and want to see if your company is eligible to be considered as a resume scoring expert, please contact us.

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