Words to Use and to Avoid in Your Resume
Luci Peters
Certified Professional Resume Writer
August 11, 2022, 2:01 pm

Words to Use and to Avoid in Your Resume

Did you know that according to the U.S. News & World Report, a hiring manager usually needs around 20 seconds to make a decision regarding your candidature based on the resume you provided? It indeed takes little time to assess your resume and catch a brief idea of what kind of professional you are. Experienced hiring managers can scan your resume and immediately find the information they need about you. This means that almost every word you put on your resume can help you either win or lose the competition.

Pay attention to the words you use in your resume

Our advice is to use strong action verbs. This can help in converting your resume from what you did to what you achieved by doing so. Many professional HRs emphasize that they need to see an achiever rather than a doer. Therefore, here is the list:

  • Achieved/won: use this word to demonstrate that you succeeded at a previous workplace.

  • Improved: sends a message that you felt confident in your previous position and brought benefit to your employer.

  • Managed: helps focus on your ability to lead people and complete tasks.

  • Trained/Mentored: highlights your managerial skills and the ability to work in teams with people who have less experience.

  • Created: emphasizes your desire to go beyond the specified scope of job duties and add new value by generating creative solutions.

  • Increased/Decreased: help in putting your achievements in a numerical form.

  • Volunteered: helps in showing that you can work extra to positively contribute to overall team performance and the achievement of common goals.

  • Resolved: demonstrates your problem-solving and critical thinking abilities.

  • Influenced: highlights your leadership skills and the ability to persuade people to work for the company’s benefit.

  • Launched: this shows your desire to initiate and create more for the benefit of your company as well as to manage projects from conception to the final phase.

Other effective words to use in your resume can be the following: ideas, revenue, under budget, profits, cut costs, save time, etc. You should put everything that shows direct results of your performance and your unique value to the employer.

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Words Not to Use In A Resume

If you want to land an interview, you can't afford to be boring.

Resumes are one of the most important parts of your job hunt, but they can also be difficult to write. You want to present yourself in a positive light, but at the same time don't want to come across as overly enthusiastic or over-eager.

However, there are words to avoid in your resume. These words are mostly clichés, which have become so common that they no longer have any value for employers and hiring managers. Hence, it is better to avoid such descriptions as a team player, go-to person, go-getter, strategic thinker, hard worker, etc. Do not describe yourself as results-driven, dynamic, self-motivated, detail-oriented, etc. Think of more comprehensive words like accomplished and dedicated, etc. Try to describe your personality together with the value it bears for the particular employer.

Why Is It Important to Use the Right Kind of Words in Your Resume?

When you go to apply for a job, you want to write a resume that gets noticed. But how do you make sure your resume stands out from the crowd? How do you make sure that your resume gets the attention of hiring managers?

There are two main reasons why it's important to use the right kind of words in your resume:

Words have meaning. When you use words that don't have much meaning or just don't fit together well, it can be hard for hiring managers to understand what you're trying to say. Try using words that describe your skills and experience clearly, so that hiring managers can easily see how those skills will help them accomplish their goals.

Lists are boring — avoid them! Lists are not only ineffective — but they're also boring! People hate reading them and if they're not careful, they'll lose interest before even getting started reading your resume. You should make lists only when necessary and only after taking the time to explain why each item on the list is important.

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Almost all professional resume writers suggest replacing empty words, which simply occupy space with real proof of your achievement and your value. Describe yourself as a professional who can reach certain goals within a limited time. Try to answer the objectives that are listed in the job opening in your resume and get your dream job.

It's important to remember that, while you don't want to come across as overly verbose, neither do you want to be too terse. After all, your resume is the first impression employers get of you; you want to give them enough information to make them want to keep reading. If a particular word is integral to what you do or say, then go ahead and use it—just don't put it in every single line of your document. Similarly, you'll create a more cohesive look by using a variety of action-oriented words like "led" or "developed"—again, just avoid overusing these particular words.

And remember that the best resume writers are always there to help you just in case.


What words are not to use in a resume?

Don’t use sloppy language, like “awesome” or “incredible.” These words are subjective and don’t show that you understand the importance of writing clearly and concisely.

Don’t use slang or colloquialisms, as they may be interpreted as being a common-speaking language. Use words that are easy to understand by anyone reading your resume.

Words to use when writing a resume?

Use action words. When describing your skills and experiences, try to use action verbs like "developed," "managed," "implemented" or "created." These words make it easy for employers to picture you in action, which will help them understand what you did and how well you did it.

What are good words to use on a resume?

Write an action-oriented Resume with the terms on the following list to assist you to demonstrate your worth to their team:

  • Achieved
  • Developed
  • Established
  • Volunteered
  • Influenced
  • Launched
  • Managed
  • Improved
  • Increased/decreased
  • Generated revenue/profits
  • Trained/mentored
  • Delivered under budget
  • Negotiated
  • Resolved
  • Coordinated
  • Created

What words to avoid in a resume?

Words like these must be avoided in a resume:

  • Hard worker
  • Self-motivated
  • Team player
  • Best of breed
  • Think outside the box
  • Proactive
  • Smart
  • Best

What words can be effective for a resume?

Use objective-oriented language in your resume that describes your skills, experience, education and training, and relevant work history. Avoid using slang or buzzwords and instead focus on the skills you have that are directly relevant to the position you are applying for. Use active verbs like "developed," "managed," and "performed" instead of passive verbs like "was" or "wasn't."

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