There are certain words and phrases that have become commonplace on resumes and cover letters, despite the fact that they really lack merit, and in some cases are actually turn-offs to recruiters and hiring managers. One of the key offenders? Seasoned.
Simply put, you should reserve that word for describing food. It has no place describing people, and it really has no place on your resume collateral.
Why “Seasoned” is a Word Best Avoided
There are a number of reasons to avoid this word. Start with this one: Recruiters know full well that “seasoned” can be a euphemism. People who describe themselves in this way are often trying to put a positive spin on the fact that they are, frankly, old, or that they have worked in the same profession for a long span of time. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to phrase things positively, of course. “Seasoned” just isn’t an effective way to do it.
In addition, the word is often used in a way that’s redundant. Say you describe yourself as a “seasoned professional with 20 years of experience.” What role does “seasoned” play in this statement? What does it communicate that the 20 years of experience doesn’t get at more specifically?
The bottom line: When you describe yourself with this word, you’re not giving the recruiter any good reason to keep reading your resume. It’s purely an empty cliché.
What to Say Instead
Fortunately, there are some choice alternatives available—words that arrive at something much more specific and impactful.
To show that you’re worked in the same industry for a long time but have climbed the ladder—rather than remaining stagnant in one single position—you could note that you are “steadily progressing.”
To denote that you have authority in your field, “industry-leading” is a qualifier that can pack a real punch. “Respected expert” is another option here.
And of course, you can always just let your specific career history do the talking for you, without any need to tell people how “seasoned” you are.
The bottom line for job seekers: Every word on your resume needs to be just right. A single hollow choice can cause the whole thing to come across as limp or uninspiring.