Translating CV buzzwords

As the year draws to a close, social media sites are flooding the news wires with top 10 lists. Top 10 Google searches, top 10 YouTube clips, top 10 Twitter trends – you name it, there’s a list for it.

But the fine people at LinkedIn have released a blog with a list that entrepreneurs should definitely check out – the 10 most overused buzzwords that appear in resumes on the social media sites.

We’re sure you are all used to seeing these words in resumes, and have a pretty good idea of what they actually mean.

But just to clear up any confusion, here are SmartCompany’s slightly cheeky translations of the 10 buzzwords.

1. Extensive experience

Hints at a deep understanding of the job and the industry, but often means the candidate once did a job sort of vaguely like they are applying for during a two-month fill in stint for a colleague.

2. Innovative

Suggests a problem solver with great creative thinking abilities. We have absolutely no idea what it really means, just like most companies don’t understand what innovation is.

3. Motivated

Conjures pictures of an energetic inspired and inspiring employee. Means they will turn up on time, except on casual Friday.

4. Results-oriented

Means they are looking for a generous bonus or commission structure. No pay-for-performance, no performance.

5. Dynamic

Suggests an employee who is flexible, and ready to dive into a number of different roles. Means the employee is a generalist who doesn’t quite fit into any one role.

6. Proven track record

They’ve got references, and they are not afraid to use them!

7. Team player

This can mean a few different things – they don’t work well by themselves and need constant supervision, or they are skilled at taking credit for team efforts.

8. Fast-paced

Hints at a candidate who is always upbeat and tackles work like a typhoon. Really means they will rush through things, always look busy and never quite get anything done.

9. Problem solver

They once figured out how to slash stationery costs by looking in the stationery cupboard.

10. Entrepreneurial

These people always think they can do it better than the boss, so watch out!

Okay, okay, we’re sure these translations are very unfair – there are lots of great candidates who will fall into the trap of squeezing a buzzword or two into their resume.

But if you are an employee looking to work with a great SME, drop the jargon and keep it simple!


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
SmartCompany Plus

Sign in

To connect a sign in method the email must match the one on your SmartCompany Plus account.
Or use your email
Forgot your password?

Want some assistance?

Contact us on: or call the hotline: +61 (03) 8623 9900.