The 20 Worst and Best Words to Use in Resumes

by guest writer, Tom Jager

If you are updating your credentials, follow these tips for the best and worst words to use in resumes. 

A well-written and rich resume is still a very important tool for getting a good job. However,  in order for it to make a difference, it should have no weak, passive words, clichés, or tired phrases. Resume writing trends change very quickly, and words that were incredibly popular a year ago may be an immediate ground for denial today. 

For example, many job seekers used words like “synergy” and “rock star” in their resumes, and hiring managers thought they were awesome. However, they quickly became so mainstream that every person looking for a job called themselves either a “guru” or a “ninja.” With everyone using these words as keywords in their resumes, they became boring and even annoying.

In this article, we’re going to list ten words that are recommended for resume use and ten that should be left out in order to avoid making anyone bored or annoyed. Read to the end and you’ll know what words and word combinations to use to make your resume specific, clear, strong, and impressive!

The Perfect Resume Words to use in Resumes

1. Spearheaded

This is an action word that brings a confident tone to your resume. For example, instead of writing “held monthly meetings on personnel performance,” you should use this word to make it more detailed and empowered, e.g. “spearheaded monthly meetings to determine areas of poor employee performance.”

2. Accelerated

Another example of a word that brings more confidence, and clarifies your responsibilities for hiring managers. For example, instead of writing

“I was responsible for employee performance assessment,”

try adding this word to make this sentence more action-oriented:

“I accelerated employee growth by performing regular assessment and identifying performance areas that needed improvement.”

3. Optimized

This one is also an action word that can help you to convert a traditional “what I was doing” sentence into “I helped to achieve this” kind of sentence which is much more interesting for hiring managers because it demonstrates your success on your previous job.

Here’s an example of using “optimized” to create the sentence focused on achievement:

“Optimized organizational inventory by performing product availability analysis and ensuring effective warehouse management.”

4. Created

Use the verb “create” to make an action-oriented sentence such as this one:

“Increased the company’s sales by creating a more effective content calendar and automating content marketing.”

5. Directed

That’s a great word to demonstrate your skills as a leader and success that you achieved while being in charge of a certain project.

For example:

“I directed the content upgrade effort that improved the average email open rate by 5 percent within one month and click-through rate by 4 percent within the same time frame.”

6. Discovered and Identified

This would be a perfect combination to describe your success in identifying an issue and preventing it from making a negative impact on a business.

Here’s an example:

“Discovered and identified the least effective email templates that undermined the effectiveness of the email marketing campaign to grow the lead base.”

7. Seeking to Harness Years of Experience in ….

This word combination is great for the overview section, or the one that provides a summary of your resume. For example, let’s suppose that you have 7 years of experience in digital marketing. Here’s how you can use this combination to make your resume sound incredibly confident:

“An expert digital marketer now seeking to harness seven years’ experience in email marketing, social media marketing, and content creation.”

8. Fully Committed to

This one demonstrates your commitment to accomplishing to the goals set for you by organizations you work for. Here’s an example:

“I’m fully committed to broadening target audiences and introducing dynamic, customer-centered solutions to the ongoing goals of the organization.”

9, Selected

How about letting the hiring manager know that your expertise was highly valued by your previous employer like this:

“Selected by the business owner to create a new content market strategy and managing the re-purposing of the existing brand content.”

10. Propelled

If you have specific achievements that you would like to share with hiring managers in your resume, feel free to use this word. For example:

“Propelled [name of the business] to meet the annual marketing goals and accomplish 10 percent growth over previous year in an industry where average annual growth was 5 percent.”

Worst Words to Use in Resumes

There are so many words that you should keep away from your resume, from the aforementioned overused words like “ninja” and clichés, to general phrases of self-promotion and weak words. This section contains some of the most common words and word combinations that you should avoid.

1. Detail-oriented

As funny as it sounds, this combination doesn’t provide any details that explain how or why you can bring value to the position you’re applying for.

2. Go-Getter

That’s basically a vague, weak way to describe your experience because it lacks details and is pretty much a generality.

3. Team Player

Instead of using this, identify your specific achievements as a member of a team.

4. Synergy

Oh, this is so 2015. If you’re using this word, chances are that you’re also a fan of “ninja.”

5. Hard worker

This is a given characteristic that you shouldn’t mention unless you have a specific example.

6. Microsoft Office

Do you know many people who can’t work with MS? Command of apps like Word and PowerPoint is not a skill, it’s a given.

7. Problem Solver

All positions involve solving problems, so including this characteristic is simply redundant.

8. Dynamic

What does “being a dynamic worker” mean? You moving three times faster than an average worker? Replace this one with better options like “energetic.”

9. Passionate

This one is among 2017’s Top 10 LinkedIn Top Global Buzzwords that are overused in resumes.

10. References Available

This became redundant because every hiring manager knows that a candidate will provide references when asked for them.

Happy Hunting! We are here for you!

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Tom Jager is professional blogger. He works at A-writer.  He has degree in Law and English literature. Tom has written numerous articles/online journals. You can reach him at G+  or  Facebook.

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