Resume Buzz Words: Resume Buzz Words. When used correctly, buzzwords can have a significant impact on your success in landing job interviews and, ultimately, a job. Likewise, overusing or misusing buzzwords can hurt your chances of moving forward in your job search.
Top Resume Buzz Words to Use and Upgrade Your Chances
What are Resume Buzzwords?
Resume buzzwords are words for your resume that are used to get the attention of employers.
Generally, buzzwords are similar to action verbs and help describe the work experience on your resume in terms of what you accomplished rather than what you were passively responsible for.
Used well, resume buzzwords help highlight specific hard or soft skills that hiring managers are looking for.
However, resume buzzwords aren’t always a positive addition to your application. There are many common buzzwords that make your application less appealing because they’re overused and don’t communicate anything of substance.
For example, cliché buzzwords like “team player,” “go-getter,” or “results-driven” are likely to make hiring managers roll their eyes and should be avoided.
What Do You Accomplish By Adding Buzzwords To Your Resume?
One reason buzzwords are important is that they can help you get past applicant tracking systems (ATS) that many companies use. These systems are now used by over 98 percent of Fortune 500 companies.
ATS are software systems that assist in analyzing resumes and other tasks within the hiring process.
They mine data from your resume to convert it into easily consumable information for hiring managers. Applicant tracking systems allow companies to select keywords and other criteria of value and even rank job candidates.
By adding the right buzzwords, you can create an attractive ATS resume that beats the bots and moves you up to the top of the resume ranks.
If you’re applying with a company that doesn’t use ATS, buzzwords are still a valuable tool. Instead of software catching your keywords, it’s a human.
Either way, you may only have a moment to make a lasting first impression. The language you use in your resume is almost as important as your skillset and experience.
Hiring managers are looking for a resume (and candidate) that won’t blend into the paper pile.
10 Overused Resume Buzzwords
To ensure that you write a great resume, we’ve compiled a list of 10 overused or generic resume buzzwords and provided some useful alternatives you can use on your resume. Let’s dive in.
Leadership skills are important to employers, especially when you’re filling a managerial position. But simply stating that you’re a “natural leader” or a “manager” isn’t enough. You’ll need to show it with your past experience on your resume.
Instead, convey that you possess leadership skills using the following 14 good resume buzzwords:
Being experienced is never bad, but listing it on your resume can be. “Experienced” is a common phrase, and there are additional, more engaging buzzwords that convey the same meaning that hiring managers would rather read.
Here are ten resume buzzwords that are better than “experienced”:
Being an expert means being highly qualified in your particular craft, skillset, or industry. If this describes you, then that’s great. Unfortunately, hiring managers see the word “expert” on resumes all the time.
Instead, use one of the following 11 positive buzzwords for your resume to convey to the hiring manager that you’re an expert in your field:
Whether you should use the word “motivated” on your resume or not will depend on your circumstances.
If you’re still in school and preparing an internship resume, a recent college graduate, or otherwise lacking experience and just starting your career, it’s perfectly fine to use.
However, there are better buzzwords that can give your resume a boost and show the hiring manager that you’re dedicated to your work and ready to start contributing to their company.
Here are 10 resume buzzwords to use as an alternative for “motivated”:
Employers want you to be creative, especially in digital marketing and graphic design roles that require innovation and artistry. However, the word “creative” shows up on many resumes.
Let’s switch being “creative” for one of the following eight effective buzzwords for your resume:
Are you good at your job? How about being excellent or great at your job?
It’s fantastic that you’re committed to your work, but buzzwords like “excellent,” “good,” and “great” appear on countless resumes.
Instead, use these 10 less common resume buzzwords when describing your past work experience:
Being strategic is especially important for individuals writing a marketing resume or candidates involved with product management.
But hiring managers in these fields see the word “strategic” pop up constantly.
Instead of using this cliché buzzword, you’ll grab their attention quickly if you use any of the following 10 good resume buzzwords:
No matter what your profession is, staying focused is a valuable attribute.
However, just saying that you’re “focused” on your resume sounds generic.
Instead, use any of the following nine resume buzzwords:
Hiring managers love candidates who can think innovatively and develop unique ideas. However, just saying that your work is “unique” sounds generic (and a bit too much like you just finished a middle school art project).
Instead, show hiring managers that your work stands out by using some of the following buzzwords for your resume:
You should display your specific skillset throughout your resume, but it’s better not to describe yourself as “skilled” because this sounds nonspecific.
Instead, use these 10 great resume buzzwords to highlight some of your specific industry-specific hard skills or soft skills:
How to Use Buzzwords in Your Resume
Now that you’ve seen some of the best buzzwords to include in your resume, here’s how to properly put them to use:
You’ll want to use buzzwords in your resume introduction, work experience, and skills section.
Why Use Powerful Resume Words?
Use it to improve your writing, highlight strengths on your resume, and to help the employer understand why you should be the chosen one.
But you don’t want a phone-book-style list of 310 resume verbs, buzzwords, and adjectives. So—here are 10 individual lists.
After that are lists of resume buzzwords, resume adjectives, and how to find the best keywords for your resume.
Action Verbs, Power Words & Synonyms for Your Resume
See lists of good resume words (action verbs, power words, adjectives, and synonyms) to use instead of worn-out buzzwords like a team player, leadership, responsible for, communication, and lots more.
Check which words to avoid on your resume and use that to land your dream job faster!
So here are some power words, action words, and synonyms for your resume:
‣ “Team Player” Action Words
‣ “Leadership” Words for Resume
‣ “Responsible For” Synonyms
‣ “Communication” Power Words
‣ “Achiever” Action Words
‣ “Worked On” Action Words
‣ “Improved” Power Words
‣ “Researched” Synonyms
‣ “Creativity and Problem Solving” Words
‣ “Managed” Resume Verbs
‣ “Assist” Resume Verbs
‣ “Utilize” Resume Verbs
Want buzzwords, adjectives, or resume keywords to give your job search a fighting chance? Click any of the resume words lists below, or just scroll down.
Resume Buzzwords and Resume Adjectives
this section discusses the following:
1. List of Resume Buzzwords
2. List of Resume Adjectives
3. The Best Resume Keywords
Rules of Resume Writing
Some rules to help you through your writing process:
1. Don’t Be Too Wordy
A mistake we see all too often at Career Contessa is people wanting to sound “smart” on their resumes. What do they do?
They sprinkle in nonsensical business jargon and fluffy words. Instead of hitting their goal, they do the opposite and confuse recruiters. Resume buzz words.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Use Your Own Voice.
We are huge proponents of infusing creativity wherever we can, especially in stiff hiring documents like a resume or cover letter. Resume buzz words.
But we’d recommend ditching the jargon and instead infusing your resume with strong action verbs that highlight your skills and catch the recruiter’s eye.
This means swapping out sentences like “results-driven team player who managed the onboarding process.”
With something more specific, 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 reason, we created this long list of alternatives for buzzwords commonly found in resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles.
3. Strong Resume Power Words
Most resume bullet points start with a language that is repetitive and boring. When a recruiter is skimming the page, it’s easy for them to glaze over your accomplishments.
That’s where power words come in. Power words help punch up any resume bullet point.
They help you stand out; they help relate your experience to the specific job better and faster, and they can help tell your story in a more concise way.
Replacing common buzzwords with exciting, active language, or keywords can even increase the chances that an Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) will pick up your resume in an online database.
Most companies will use an ATS to collect online applications. Next, the ATS will read/scan your resume to see if it’s a match for the job.
Specifically, the ATS is comparing your resume to the job description and the way it does this is by looking for keywords or phrases in your resume that are also used in the job description.
How to Use Power Words
If the job description is looking for someone to “manage client relationships” then you’ll want to include the keyword “client relationships” on your resume.
Don’t: Don’t stop by just including the keyword with little or no context.
Do: Make it POP. This is what will make the recruiter eager to review your experience. Do this by starting your bullet point with a power verb like “cultivated” or “organized.”
Both those power verbs give us a better idea of your role vs. a general term like “manage.”
So you might say: “Cultivated 35+ client relationships and organized the sales process from lead to signed contract each quarter.”
By putting in a little extra thought to add some power verbs, your bullet points will set you apart from other candidates. Resume buzz words.
Resume Action Verbs
Another type of power word is an action verb. An action verb describes a specific action, task, or movement which answers the question, “What is the subject doing?”
They are used to adding impact to a sentence in order to provide relevant and important information, so they are key to an impressive resume. Resume buzz words.
Some examples include:
1. Accelerated: Accelerated development of the company’s inaugural internship program.
2. Collaborated: Collaborated with a team of eight people to raise $1.5 million for charity.
3. Supervised: Supervised a cross-departmental initiative that resulted in a 10% increase in revenue.
4. Implemented: Implemented framework and best practices for customer success.
5. Designed: Designed a wireframe for the company’s first-ever mobile application.
6. Enhanced: Enhanced customer experience with a new platform.
We covered action verbs in great detail here including 100+ action verbs—and advice on how to use them.
If this is beginning to seem like a grammar refresh lesson, it is!
Another type of power word is a powerful adjective. A power adjective is a word that describes the noun or pronoun. For example, in the phrase “hot day,” the word “hot” is the adjective that is describing the day. Resume buzz words.
They are used to describe the quality, quantity, or state of a noun. These are especially important in a resume because recruiters love to see quantitative details included—like “I increased revenue by 10%.” vs. “I increased revenue.”
Some examples include:
The goal with adding power adjectives is to enhance what you’re describing—not to make it wordy.
Include an adjective with an accomplishment or example.
How to Transform Your Sentences with Power Adjectives
Few examples of how to transform your sentences with power adjectives:
1. Before: Launched a new project management tool.
2. After: Launched seamless integration of a project management tool that increased team productivity by 15%.
3. Before: In charge of cross-communication across many departments.
4. After: Created templates to ensure smooth and accurate communication with customers across five departments.
5. Before: Responsible for responding to customer emails each day.
6. After: Filtered 100+ high-priority customer emails each day in order to decrease monthly churn rates.
7. Before: Oversee donor relations program.
8. After: Secured $30 million of dedicated funding from donors, families, and campus outreach organizations.
3 Tricks to Help Avoid Using “Bad” Power Words
We’ve covered a lot of the reasons why you want to include power words in your resume and before we give you even more examples of power words, let’s discuss some that you should avoid. Resume buzz words.
You’ll want to avoid these resume power words because they are overused, don’t showcase your accomplishments as well as other words, and lack the ability to stand out in a sea of resumes. Resume buzz words.
1. Know the Difference Between Self-Promotion vs. Self-Initiation
You might be tempted to use terms to brag about yourself such as go-getter and point-person, but it would be more impressive if you focus on your skills to take initiative and get stuff done. Resume buzz words.
Ultimately, you’re showing you can bring value to the company. Try something like “self-starter” and then give an example of a time when you took initiative and the positive impact it had on the company. Resume buzz words.
2. Avoid the Overly-Obvious
Don’t waste precious resume real estate stating things that are obvious and don’t help differentiate you at all. These include words like “team player,” “people person,” “hard worker,” etc.
Today, it’s a given that you’ll need to work well with people, so give us an example of how you worked with others to get something done.
3. Please Avoid Business Jargon
We mentioned this already, but let’s get more specific.
Getting too fancy with the lingo can confuse the recruiter. Instead, stick to clear, concise language. Business jargon to avoid includes synergy, wheelhouse, bandwidth, ecosystem, etc.
What are Resume Action Words?
Resume action words, also called resume power words, are words you should use in your resume to describe your professional skills, tasks, and achievements at work in a short and powerful way.
Typically, they are action verbs but adjectives and some buzzwords are also considered good words for resumes. With action words:
‣ Responsible for becoming Improved.
‣ Worked with becomes Collaborated on a team that.
‣ In Charge Of becomes Directed 20 employees to.
Rather than describe your job, resume action verbs paint a vivid picture of your expertise and professional wins.
Why Do Good Resume Verbs Make Writing Stronger?
Resume action verbs make writing stronger for two reasons.
‣ First, they zap the boring phrases hiring managers see hundreds of times daily.
‣ Second, they guide you toward job-winning specifics. With action words, you didn’t just handle a responsibility. You slashed costs X% or drove time savings of X hours/week. Resume buzz words.
What Action Words to Use in a Resume?
Avoid like the plague words that say, “I’m awesome, great, experienced, an expert, a hard worker.” Those are “toot your own horn” words.
Instead, use resume words that say, “I’m about to show you how I’m awesome.” Use Exact Numbers with Your Resume Power Words. With any of the resume words below, add numbers.
Calculate the dollars saved, the revenue increased, and the time reduced. Then use good resume action verbs to introduce those numbers.
Implemented a new inventory system and slashed costs by 20%.
Pro Tip: What’s even more powerful than great action words for a resume? Great referrals. Reach out to employees at the company and listen to them talk about their job.
Need achievements to pair with all those great resume action words? See our guide: Achievements to Put on a Resume – Complete Guide (+30 Examples)
Resume Action Words for “Team Player”
Employers hate seeing “team player” on a resume. Yet, they want to hire team players. See the problem? You’ve got to show you’re a team player without saying it.
So, in your resume bullet points, display achievements. Showtimes you worked with others and got great results. You cut costs, raised revenue, or found efficiencies. Give specific dollar amounts, hours per week, and percentages.
Leadoff with the resume action verbs for collaboration below.
20 of the Best Resume Action Words for Team Player:
Pro Tip: Use great action verbs for resume writing, but use them sparingly. One active power verb per bullet point sentence is plenty.
Want to fit your resume words to the job offer as a pair of yoga pants? See our guide: How to Personalize Your Resume to Match a Job Description (Examples)
Resume Power Words for “Leadership”
Hiring managers love leaders. They can’t stand candidates who merely say they’re leaders.
How many team members were you in charge of? How many hours of training did you give? What projects did you spearhead? Resume buzz words.
There’s your proof. Showcase it in style with the resume power words for leadership below.
20 of the Best Resume Words for Leadership:
Pro Tip: Action verbs for resume use can backfire if you use them wrong. Make sure you fully understand the power words you use.
If adding resume words can help your chances, what other great tips are just around the corner? See our guide: 42 Amazing Resume Tips That You Can Use in 30 Minutes [Examples]
Trying to stand out with power words for your resume?
‣ Make sure they’re the right ones.
‣ Avoid resume buzz words.
This is a list of the most popular ones:
‣ Overused Resume Buzz Words
‣ In Charge Of
‣ Hard Worker
‣ Strategic Thinker
‣ Outside the Box
‣ Responsible For
‣ Specialized In
‣ Go To
‣ Team Player
A CareerBuilder study of 2200 hiring managers found the common resume buzzwords hiring managers hate most.
What do they have in common? Most say you’re great, but don’t convey any actual information. Resume buzz words.
Use resume words you can hook achievements to instead.
|Tired Resume Buzz Words||Use Instead|
|1.||In Charge Of||Directed|
|6.||Outside the Box||Created|
|13.||Go To||Trusted By|
|15.||Team Player||Participated In|
Pro Tip: What if you land the interview, then they ask you to describe yourself in three words? Use resume action words to show how well you’ll fit the job. Resume buzz words.
Looking for resume buzzwords to use in a student resume? Want help making it 10x more effective? See our guide on the subject: Student Resume Sample & Complete Writing Guide [with 20+ Examples]
20 of the Best Resume Action Words for Responsible For
Use these resume words to do it right:
‣ Acted As
‣ Succeeded In
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Pro Tip: It’s okay to use more common resume action verbs once in a while. Just avoid the most common power words whenever possible.
How many words should a resume be? Check our resources: Should a Resume Be One Page? How to Make It a Single Page [+Tips]
Good Resume Verbs for “Communication”
What hiring manager doesn’t love a good communicator?
Here’s a tip:
An applicant with good communication skills would never say, “I’m a good communicator.” She’d show it. So tout achievements your communication caused.
Did you negotiate deals 10% more effectively than others? Author of the company newsletter? Show it with the powerful resume words below.
20 of the Best Resume Words for Communication:
Best resume words for a communicator:
Pro Tip: Can’t find the right action verbs for resumes to describe your great achievement? Sometimes it’s best to let the accomplishment speak for itself.
Resume Power Words for “Achiever/Achieved”
Here are a few examples:
‣ Want to look incompetent?
‣ Just put “Achiever” on your resume.
‣ Want to look like Tony Stark with MS Office skills?
‣ Use the strong resume words below to show exactly what you have achieved.
20 of the Best Resume Action Words for Achievers:
Resume buzz words .Here are the best resume action words to express your achievement:
Pro Tip: Avoid over-flashy resume action verbs like “destroyed,” “smashed,” or “annihilated.” Use them only if you’re applying to the WWE.
Poor use of resume action words is a big mistake. The same is true for choosing tenses. See how to fix this: Resume Tense: Past or Present? What Voice?
The Best Resume Adjectives
Use those self-descriptive words on a resume:
‣ A Self-starter.
‣ Cutting Edge.
‣ Let’s not tiptoe.
Buzzwords to Leave Off Your Resume
While there are plenty of buzzwords you should add to your resume, there are also several buzzwords you should leave off. Your resume has limited space, so carefully selecting the language you use is key. Resume buzz words.
The words listed below can describe you, but it’s better to put action and results behind your description. Here’s a brief list of buzzwords to leave off your resume:
‣ Go to
‣ Hard worker
‣ Outside the box
‣ Responsible for
‣ Specialized in
‣ Team player
‣ Worked on
If you have any questions concerning Top Resume Buzz Words to Use and Upgrade Your Chances, please feel free to use the comment box below and ask us your question. We will be very pleased to answer you.
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