MSNBC, the noted authority on everything from recipes to, well, recipes, has issued its opinion on resumes. Proffering their opinion on the ten most overused words, they suggest that it is the proliferation of these descriptive nouns that are keeping you from the job of your dreams.

Whether this pronouncement caused more white smoke to rise up the chimney in Vatican City is shrouded in mystery. What is known is that the usage of any one of these is tantamount to the business-suited inquisitor conducting the search for the best hamster to run inside the wheel, to disintegrate your chances of a cubicle of your very own. This may come as a shock if you’re out at Burritoville and have only half finished with your quesadilla. As an aside, to prevent perfectly good food from going to waste, could you all just please make sure to have your Will updated so that the untouched portion of the cheesefest is passed along to me? Thank you.

Now I’m sure we’re all anxious as we’ve been waiting for MSNBC to weigh in on this subject for years. I’ve been gnawing my fingernails down to my knuckles in anticipation. And the networking giant didn’t disappoint. Everything I could have hoped for in efficacious snobbery, this kind of superciliousness has not been seen since the days of Lord Byron’s literary dissection of Lady Caroline Lamb.

With no more fanfare than the bolt of lightning that scarred Harry Potter’s face, here is the ruling:


1. Hard worker
2. Self-starter
3. Team player
4. Highly qualified
5. Dynamic
6. Problem solver
7. Reliable
8. Familiar with
9. Flexible
10. People person


Personally, I don’t see where being a highly qualified, reliable, problem solving, people person is all that problematic, but who am I to sling stones at Goliath? Nevertheless, the only word approaching cantankerous would be “Self-starter.” For me, it conjures up images of a motor vehicle, an adorable baby in a car seat tethered in the back, starting to roll towards a busy intersection on its own. And further, doesn’t it imply that the rest of us are dependent on someone’s hand turning our knobs to start the butane hissing so that it can be lit by a match waved near our butts? I’m just saying.

After meditation—and medication—I decided to unburden myself of my deep sense of dissatisfaction over the quality of this produce that wreaks like four-day old fish. In that spirit, I decided to follow-up on this EXTREMELY important topic with a list of my own. I mean, after all, we must be no better than kindergarten sprouts to not know what words to use to describe ourselves. And while the majority of mental meltdowns caused by ill-begotten words can be attributed to thin-skinned employers that can’t take a joke, there are indeed some that should be banished, banned and censored. So here are my top ten that should be caned and beaten from resumes.

10. Recluse.
While the thought of someone so socially inept as to not spread office gossip is nice, in the end, the jaundiced ramifications will find you in your isolation tank and bite you in your arse. After all, there are too many headlines, all of them involving bodies in the basement, that begin by describing said psycho with this term.

9. Necromancy. While communion with the dead is very in right now, it’s not the sort of thing to put as a hobby. Nor is telling the interviewer that you see a male presence around her. It’s only her boss—wondering what is taking so long for her to reject your tarot card musing self.

8. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Let’s face it, this word is not even appropriate for Julie Andrews or Mary Poppins to use. In this vein, please do not refer to any Disney characters or declare that Mulan is your hero for so very many reasons.

7. Gun. The subject of fire arms should never be brought up in a first interview. Nor should you wear your Sharpshooter’s badge that you earned while working as a mercenary in Bulgaria.

6. Herpes. Use this and I’ll bet you ten dollars that they don’t shake your hand.

5. Tolkien. While there are millions of ardent fans of J.R.R. Tolkin’s LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, none of them actually work in Human Resources. Therefore, tread lightly where Gandalf doth roam.

4. Hoarder. They don’t care if you’re only referring to the 20-pound rubber ball on your desktop that you fashioned by wrapping rubber bands around a small core of chewing gum. Employers like employees they can easily get rid of, and finding ten-year old peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, used and unused toilet paper from the ladies room, and hairballs that your cat has gakked up in your bottom drawers is not their definition of “traveling light.”

3. Fired. Never divulge this sort of information. Substitute another word for it. So instead of writing, “I was fired from my last position in 2012,” you should write, “I was FREED from my last position in 2012.”

2. Celibacy. Unless you’re running for mayor of New York City, this is something we don’t need to know. Even then, it is iffy. Remember the embarrassed hush caused by the 87-year-old actress, Gloria Frances, revealing that she masturbated every day? My cheeks are still red from the admission, and I’ve never been able to view THE TITANIC again without spitting up bile into my cup.

1. Stalking. Never, ever, ever use this word—on your resume, in the interview, or to the nice policeman who asks you why you’re standing outside your ex’s back door with a kitchen knife.

Thus ends my word selections. If you have any others that you feel should be added to this list, you may leave it in a comment … along with your reasons why.

Good luck, job seeker. May the Employment Gods Be With You!


About WPotocki

I live and write in NYC. If that isn't scary enough, I write in the genre of horror. All my works can be purchased and enjoyed so don't hold yourself back or anything. http://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Potocki/e/B002BRGIP6
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  1. susanjmcleod says:

    So funny! Freed from my last position! And I always HATED that word supercalablahblah. The one that should be banned from every application, of any language, is of course, the dreaded “e” word. I can’t even spell it out to protect you.

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