The Dos and Don’ts of Using Resume Buzzwords

Many of us can summon over-used resume buzzwords in our sleep. 

In truth, a hiring supervisor might need nightmares about drowning in an ocean of “experience,” “strategy,” and “fluency.” While not all buzzwords are created equal, there are some which might be, fairly frankly, overused. 

Did you recognize that on average, employers have a look at resumes for six to seven seconds?

When you solely have a brief quantity of time to seize a recruiter’s consideration, why waste it utilizing phrases, phrases, and verbs which might be so overused they’ve misplaced their that means at this level?

Plus, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics exhibits a rise in new jobs hitting the market, which suggests extra employees are contemplating making that career transition and/or making use of for a brand new job proper now.

When the competitors is fierce, having a concise, well-worded resume is required to seize the recruiter’s consideration—and land an interview. 

Rule #1 of Resume Writing: Don’t Be Too Wordy

A mistake we see all too usually at Career Contessa is folks eager to sound “smart” on their resume. What do they do? They sprinkle in nonsensical business jargon and fluffy phrases. Instead of hitting their purpose, they do the other and confuse recruiters.

Don’t be afraid to make use of your individual voice.

We are large proponents of infusing creativity wherever we will—particularly in stiff hiring paperwork like a resume or cover letter—however we’d advocate ditching the jargon and as a substitute infusing your resume with robust motion verbs that spotlight your expertise and catch the recruiter’s eye.

This means swapping out sentences like “results-driven team player who managed the onboarding process” with one thing extra particular, like, “I developed an onboarding process that reduced the number of employees involved by 20%, which allowed our team to focus on more important hiring priorities.”

For this cause, we created this looooong listing of alternate options for buzzwords generally present in resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles. 

Strong Resume Power Words to Use

Most resume bullet factors begin with language that’s repetitive and boring. When a recruiter is skimming the web page, it’s simple for them to glaze over your accomplishments.

That’s the place energy phrases are available. Power phrases assist punch up any resume bullet level. They allow you to stand out, they assist relate your expertise to the particular job higher and sooner, and they might help inform your story in a extra concise approach.

Most firms will use an ATS to gather on-line functions. Next, the ATS will learn/scan your resume to see if it’s a match for the job.

Specifically, the ATS is evaluating your resume to the job description and the best way it does that is by searching for key phrases or phrases in your resume which might be additionally used within the job description.

How to Actually Use Power Words

If the job description is searching for somebody to “manage client relationships” then you definitely’ll need to embrace the key phrase “client relationships” in your resume.

Don’t: Don’t cease by simply together with the key phrase with little or no context. 

Do: Make it POP. This is what is going to make the recruiter be desperate to assessment your experience. Do this by beginning your bullet level with an influence verb like “cultivated” or “organized.” Both these energy verbs give us a greater concept of your function vs. a normal time period like “manage.”

So you may say: “Cultivated 35+ client relationships and organized the sales process from lead to signed contract each quarter.”

By placing in just a little additional thought so as to add some power verbs, your bullet factors will set you other than different candidates. 

Resume Action Verbs

They are used so as to add influence to a sentence with a purpose to present related and essential info, so they’re key to a formidable resume.

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Some examples embrace:

  • Accelerated: Accelerated improvement of the corporate’s inaugural internship program. 
  • Collaborated: Collaborated with a crew of eight folks to lift $1.5 million for charity. 
  • Supervised: Supervised a cross-departmental initiative that resulted in a ten% improve in income.  
  • Implemented: Implemented framework and greatest practices for buyer success. 
  • Designed: Designed a wireframe for the corporate’s first-ever cellular utility. 
  • Enhanced: Enhanced buyer expertise with a brand new platform.
power adjectives for resumes

Power Adjectives

If that is starting to appear like a grammar refresh lesson, it’s!

Another sort of energy phrase is an influence adjective. An influence adjective is a phrase that describes the noun or pronoun. For instance, within the phrase “hot day,” the phrase “hot” is the adjective that’s describing the day.

They are used to explain the standard, amount, or state of a noun. These are particularly essential in a resume as a result of recruiters like to see quantitative particulars included—like “I increased revenue by 10%.” vs. “I increased revenue.”

Some examples embrace:

  • Focused
  • Diligent
  • Innovative
  • Collaborative
  • Proactive
  • Detailed
  • Prompt
  • Extensive
  • Numerous
  • Smooth
  • Comprehensive
  • Agile
  • Cohesive

The purpose with including energy adjectives is to boost what you’re describing—to not make it wordy.

Include an adjective with an accomplishment or instance.

How to Transform Your Sentences with Power Adjectives

Before: Launched a brand new undertaking administration software.
After: Launched seamless integration of a undertaking administration software that elevated crew productiveness by 15%. 

Before: In cost of cross-communication throughout many departments.
After: Created templates to make sure clean and correct communication with clients throughout 5 departments.

Before: Responsible for responding to buyer emails every day.
After: Filtered 100+ high-priority buyer emails every day with a purpose to lower month-to-month churn charges.

Before: Oversee donor relations program.
After: Secured $30 million of devoted funding from donors, households, and campus outreach organizations.

3 Tricks to Help Avoid Using “Bad” Power Words

We’ve coated loads of the the explanation why you need to embrace energy phrases in your resume and earlier than we offer you much more examples of energy phrases, let’s talk about some that it is best to keep away from.

You’ll need to keep away from these resume energy phrases as a result of they’re overused, don’t showcase your accomplishments in addition to different phrases, and lack the flexibility to face out in a sea of resumes. 

Know the Difference Between Self-Promotion vs. Self-Initiation

You may be tempted to make use of phrases to brag about your self resembling go-getter and point-person, however it could be extra spectacular for those who focus in your expertise to take initiative and get stuff executed.

Ultimately, you’re exhibiting you may bring value to the company. Try one thing like “self-starter” and then give an instance of a time whenever you took initiative and the constructive influence it had on the corporate.

Avoid the Overly-Obvious

Don’t waste valuable resume actual property stating issues which might be apparent and don’t assist differentiate you in any respect. These consists of phrases like “team player,” “people person,” “hard worker,” and many others.

Today, it’s a given that you just’ll must work nicely with folks, so give us an instance of how you worked with others to get one thing executed.

Please Avoid Business Jargon (for Jargon’s Sake)

We talked about this already, however let’s get extra particular.

Getting too fancy with the lingo can confuse the recruiter. Instead, persist with clear, concise language. Business jargon to keep away from consists of synergy, wheelhouse, bandwidth, ecosystem, and many others.

The Top Ten Most Overused Resume Buzzwords + Helpful Alternatives

According to a 2017 study by LinkedIn, listed below are the highest ten most-used buzzwords. We have shared this listing on our Instagram—and had been fairly shocked by what number of recruiters had true emotions of repulsion in direction of many of these phrases. 
  • Specialize
  • Experienced 
  • Skilled 
  • Leadership 
  • Passionate
  • Expert
  • Motivated 
  • Creative
  • Strategic
  • Focused
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Chances are, for those who scour your individual LinkedIn profile or resume proper now, you’ll come throughout some of these guys—possibly even all of them.

Is that unhealthy? Not essentially. It’s a very good apply to remember of the extra commonly-used buzzwords so to dare to be completely different (similar to that motivational poster says!).

There are 171,476 words within the English dictionary, so we have now some severe choices. So, we took to our trusty thesaurus to search out you some nice alternate options to those commonly-used buzzwords.
We additionally starred our favourite buzzwords that we’re undoubtedly going to make use of. And for those who ever want step-by-step assist creating a brand new resume, try The 24-Hour Resume Makeover. Yes, we actually might help you create a recruiter-approved resume in underneath 24 hours.

Feel that ~*synergy*~? Let’s dive in. 

specialize synonyms

Resume Power Verbs to Replace “Specialize”

It’s nice to focus on one thing—particularly if it’s a tough ability or a sure piece of software program, however yikes, this phrase is overused. Here are just a few alternate options. 

  • Practiced* 
  • Well-versed
  • Concentrated experience
  • Rehearsed
  • Trained
  • Honed*
  • Exercised
  • Disciplined
  • Seasoned*
  • Studied 

Resume Power Verbs to Replace “Experienced” 

As we undergo this listing, it’s essential to acknowledge that these resume buzzwords usually are not all unhealthy.

If you need to say skilled, say skilled! However, if you wish to zhuzh it up or say that you’re skilled in a mess of issues, use just a few variations. 

  • Accomplished*
  • Capable 
  • Competent 
  • Mature
  • Qualified 
  • Old hand 
  • Skillful 
  • Sophisticated* 
  • Superlative
  • Cultivated*

Resume Power Verbs to Replace “Skilled” 

You’ve obtained expertise, whether or not they’re arduous expertise, soft skills, or a hybrid of the 2.

Showcase your spectacular expertise utilizing some of these various phrases. 

  • Adept* 
  • Adroit 
  • Quick 
  • Clever* 
  • Proficient 
  • Savvy
  • Dexterous* 
  • Primed 
  • Veteran 
  • Tuned In 
  • Prepared 
leadership synonyms

Resume Power Verbs to Replace “Leadership” 

Here’s an enormous one. Let’s use another phrases to explain your actual management talents.

  • Access
  • Actualize*
  • Authority 
  • Command
  • Direction
  • Effect
  • Enact*
  • Guidance*
  • Impact 
  • Imprint
  • Influence 
  • Initiative
  • Prerogative*
  • Reputation
The Dos and Donts of Using Resume Buzzwords

Resume Power Verbs to Replace “Passionate”

Passion within the office may be very enticing to a hiring supervisor.

Use your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile to exhibit how your ardour has affected and propelled your work all through your complete profession. 
  • Ambitious
  • Ardent* 
  • Eager*
  • Earnest
  • Fervent 
  • Hungry*
  • Impassioned 
  • Keen
  • Stimulated

Resume Power Verbs to Replace “Expert”

Who doesn’t need an professional on their crew? Here are some synonyms to professional—in addition to just a few phrases to additional illustrate your explicit experience. 

Pro Tip: Proceed with warning with just a few of these. While you need to exhibit your experience, you don’t need to come off too robust.

  • Ace
  • Buff
  • Graduate
  • Guru 
  • Inimitable
  • Master
  • Old Pro*
  • Pro 
  • Savant
  • Virtuoso
  • Whiz*
  • Whole
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Resume Power Verbs to Replace “Motivated” or “Motivator” 

If your motivation has confirmed to be contagious to different staff, spotlight that too! 
  • Driven 
  • Galvanize*
  • Incline
  • Inspire
  • Inspirit
  • Productive
  • Propel*
  • Provoke
  • Ready
  • Spark 
  • Spur

Resume Power Verbs to Replace “Creative” 

Creative staff are arguably one of the best staff.

Connecting with creativity is just not solely helpful within the “creative” fields of design and written communication. Rather, actual artistic staff are nice at problem-solving, constructing efficient options, and implementing uncharted paths to success. 
  • Apply
  • Bright
  • Clever
  • Crafty*
  • Cutting-Edge
  • Eloquent 
  • Expressive
  • Innovative*
  • Inventive
  • Original 
  • Resourceful
  • Shrewd

Resume Power Verbs to Replace “Strategic”

Strategy is big within the office. Whether you are working in a fast-paced startup or a corporation with stone-age period practices, methods at all times have to be improved, examined, and confirmed.

But “strategy” or “strategic” are the buzziest of buzzwords on the market, so listed below are just a few alternate options. 

  • Analytical 
  • Blueprint 
  • Considerate
  • Contemplative
  • Deliberate*
  • Methodical* 
  • Logical
  • Ordered
  • Scrupulous
  • Structure
  • Weighed*

Resume Power Verbs to Replace “Focused” 

Focus is the key to getting lengthy, arduous initiatives accomplished with painstaking precision.
Look in any respect of these buzzwords we simply used. Focus is important, so listed below are just a few different phrases to explain your dedication to the duty. 
  • Absolute 
  • Comprehensive*
  • Concentrate
  • Consummate
  • Faultless
  • Impeccable*
  • Overall
  • Perfected
  • Practiced
  • Ruminate
  • Sweeping*
  • Telescopic* 
  • Undivided

How to Find Power Words in a Job Posting 

When searching for a brand new job, the job posting generally is a large useful resource—for those who select to make use of it. 
To additional exhibit that you just’re a very good match for the particular firm and job, flip to the job posting. Inside the job posting, you will see that key phrases and phrases the corporate makes use of to explain itself—and the skills required for the job.
Your purpose is to determine the phrases used to explain the corporate’s values. Highlight the key phrases used within the job description that relate to the abilities and obligations of the function. Volley those self same phrases and phrases again in your resume, cover letter, and in your interview. 

If the corporate describes its tradition as “multi-passionate creators” embrace that phrase in your resume or cowl letter with an instance of the way you match that description.

You can use these actual key phrases and phrases in your resume and edit your bullet factors so your expertise seems to be and seems like an ideal match for the job. For instance, if the job is searching for somebody who can “analyze data using Excel” then you’ll want to embrace your expertise “analyzing data” and/or “using Excel.”

We have an entire guide that may stroll you thru the method as nicely.

Another place to search out these key phrases and phrases is on the corporate’s profession web page or About Us web page.

One Final Pro Tip: Print out the job description for the job at hand.

Next, go discover three or 4 different job postings for comparable jobs at comparable firms. Print these out as nicely.

Once you’ve gotten all of them in entrance of you, spotlight the abilities, experiences, and phrases which might be used amongst all of them. That gives you a very good basis for figuring out the key phrases and phrases for these varieties of jobs.

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