December 23, 2013, 12:47 PM — Recently, LinkedIn revealed the most overused adjectives seen on users' profiles this year, but that list omitted out one of the most hackneyed phrases of all time: “think outside the box.”
Seriously, please tell us no one still uses this, actually typing these letters in this combination into this phrase on an actual 2013 resume. It just can't be. The Huffington Post begs you to reconsider if you are.
Think about it: Stating on a resume that you "think outside the box" could not convey the opposite more if it tried. If you say you're outside the box, believe us, you're firmly entrenched inside said box without a thesaurus and your resume is going to get shuffled south, quickly.
Instead of going with the empty cliche, say what you mean, HuffPo urges: "If you've described yourself as able to 'think outside the box' or said you're a 'problem solver' in your resume, you're probably trying to tell an employer that you're creative, flexible and quick on your feet."
By any and all means, go with those adjectives instead. And, as always: Show, don't tell. Quantify how you are creative, flexible and quick on your feet.
Even the most unique phrasing and combination of adjectives won't get you far if you don't have the proof to back them up.
Your resume page(s) is the most precious professional real estate you have. Don't waste space on tired old chestnuts that do nothing to grab the reader or further your resume. If you’re tempted to use a cliche, determine what you’re trying to say and find adjectives that express that in a new, fresh way.