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The Best and Worst Words to Put on Your Resume

Close up of a resume.

If you’re crafting a resume, you’re probably already familiar with the advice to focus on accomplishments not duties. Employers are eager to see what you’ve achieved how your specific skills and experience will help them. Often, portraying this comes down to selecting a few keywords…but what words should you use (and stay away from)?

Recently, Career Builder surveyed 2,090 hiring managers to see what words help or hurt job seekers. The list isn’t surprising: stay away from subjective adjectives and focus on strong verbs. Here are a few words from the list.

"The Worst Résumé Terms

The following terms are résumé turn-offs as selected by respondents:

1. Best of breed: 38 percent

2. Go-getter: 27 percent

3. Think outside of the box: 26 percent

4. Synergy: 22 percent

5. Go-to person: 22 percent

The Best Résumé Terms

There are, however, several strong verbs and terms candidates can use to help describe their experience. The following are terms employers would like to see on a résumé:

1. Achieved: 52 percent

2. Improved: 48 percent

3. Trained/Mentored: 47 percent

4. Managed: 44 percent

5. Created: 43 percent"

See the entire list here.

If you’re unsure of how to work these words into your resume, start turning the verbs into questions you can answer: What have I created? What have I managed? You might uncover some success you never realized you had!

Want more help crafting your resume? Here are a few additional resources.

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by Allison Jones

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