You only get less than 7.5 seconds to grab a hiring manager’s attention when they read your resume for the first time.
As a career coach who has helped hundreds of people polish their resumes and land jobs, I’ve seen too many candidates focus mostly on formatting, such as the font, spacing and page count.
But words matter more. According to Harvard resume experts, your chances of getting noticed are much higher when you use strong, actionable and confident verbs.
This also means knowing what to keep off, and the two words I always tell people to remove from their resumes are: “responsible for.”
“Responsible for”: Avoid these 2 resume words at all costs
Being responsible for something is just a circumstance. Saying you were “responsible for [X]” is a weak and generic way to describe your abilities and accomplishments.
Of course you had responsibilities. Doesn’t everyone? And if not, then did you really bring any value to the company?
I also advise staying away from general office buzzwords and confusing phrases. These are words that you might hear people say all the time, but are often incredibly vague.
A few examples:
- Deep dive
- Drill down
- Flesh out
- Game plan
- Hard worker
- Move the needle
- Moving parts
- Team player
- Think outside the box
Power words that do belong on your resume
Here are 35 strong, confident and truly descriptive resume words that companies want to see:
Resume words for leadership
Resume words for teamwork
Resume words for achievement
Resume words for communication
Resume words for improvement
Resume words for research
Resume words for creativity
Ken Coleman is the bestselling author of ”From Paycheck to Purpose″ and host of ”The Ken Coleman Show.” Known as “America’s Career Coach,” he helps people discover how to do work they love and produce impactful results. Follow him on Twitter @KenColeman.
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