30 Words You Should Include (and Avoid) in Your Resume

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You don't have much time to make a good (or bad) impression with your resume. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 17% of surveyed hiring managers spend 30 seconds or less, on average, reviewing resumes. 68% spend less than two minutes. Thus, nearly every word you include in your resume can either help get you noticed or knock you out of contention.

Best Words to Use in a Resume

Include words and phrases that explain specifically what you accomplished at your previous jobs.

When possible, use numbers to demonstrate how you added value at previous companies. For example, instead of simply saying you “added value to Company X by saving money,” you can say you “administered public relations budget of $500,000, saving the company 10% through efficient advertising strategies.”

Hiring managers also like to see action words in resumes. Action words demonstrate concrete things that you have done in the past for employers, and will hopefully do for your future employer.

Top 15 Words to Include in Your Resume

Here are the 15 best words to include on your resume according to employers who responded to the CareerBuilder survey:

  1. Achieved: 52%
  2. Improved: 48%
  3. Trained/Mentored: 47%
  4. Managed: 44%
  5. Created: 43%
  6. Resolved: 40%
  7. Volunteered: 35%
  8. Influenced: 29%
  9. Increased/Decreased: 28%
  10. Ideas: 27%
  11. Negotiated: 25%
  12. Launched: 24%
  13. Revenue/Profits: 23%
  14. Under budget: 16%
  15. Won: 13%

Avoid Vague Words

Hiring managers are tired of hearing vague, clichéd words like “team player” and “hard worker.” These words do not demonstrate specifically how you added value at your previous places of employment.

Top 15 Words to Avoid in Your Resume

Here are the 15 worst terms to use when resume writing according to the CareerBuilder survey, starting with "best of breed," which sounds more like a dog show winner than a candidate for employment:

  1. Best of Breed: 38%
  2. Go-getter: 27%
  3. Think outside of the box: 26%
  4. Synergy: 22%
  1. Go-to person: 22%
  2. Thought Leadership: 16%
  3. Value add: 16%
  4. Results-driven: 16%
  5. Team player: 15%
  6. Bottom-line: 14%
  7. Hard worker: 13%
  8. Strategic thinker: 12%
  9. Dynamic: 12%
  10. Self-motivated: 12%
  11. Detail-oriented: 11%

Focus on the Skills Related to the Job

By focusing on the skills, results, and accomplishments that are most related to the job for which you're applying, you'll be able to get your resume a closer look from the employer.

Read More: Resume Skills List

Related Articles: Resume Skills Section | Soft vs. Hard Skills | How to Include Keywords in Your Resume | List of Keywords for Resumes and Cover Letters | Skills and Abilities