Buzzword to AvoidAre you officially on the job hunt? You have the skills, the experience and qualifications, now you just need the golden ticket to secure an interview; your resume. We all know that most human resources departments are already drowning in a sea of resumes and the time hiring managers spend reading each one is less than a minute, so how on earth can you make sure your resume makes the YES pile?

The answer is effective buzzwords! Think about it, your resume tells the professional story of you and your accomplishments. How will yours stand out if you use the same overused terminology as everyone else applying for the same position? To help your resume stand out among the rest, here are keys words you should avoid and, more importantly, those you should include on your resume!

Buzzwords to Avoid

As a recruiter who reads through hundreds of resumes a day, I can attest to the fact that many resumes contain passive verbs that understate a candidate’s accomplishments. It should be known that using these words won’t completely ruin your chances of landing an interview, but they can hinder your probabilities.  It helps to be aware of your word choices and explore the possibilities of better options that will make your resume stand out and change that less than a minute look over to a more detailed read, landing you in that YES pile. Every year, LinkedIn releases a list of words you should keep off your profile. The top 10 words to avoid using on your resume or LinkedIn profile in 2019 include:

  1. Specialized
  2. Experienced
  3. Skilled
  4. Leadership
  5. Passionate
  6. Expert
  7. Motivated
  8. Creative
  9. Strategic
  10. Focused

Try and challenge yourself to tell a story about each of these words in your professional career thus far. For instance, instead of using the word, “managed”, try describing how you did this, by using “maximized”, “optimized”, or “oversaw”. Use verbs and adjectives that paint a picture for the person reading your resume. Illustrate to the hiring manager what they can expect you will bring to their organization based on your experience. Also, check out four areas you should consider cutting from your resume.

Buzzwords to Add

What to use instead? Strong verbs! Action words bring clarity and confidence to your resume. They allow the reader to understand how, not just what, you have accomplished. This also leaves an opportunity in the interview for a more proactive conversation and steers away from just reading bullet points off your resume. TheMuse released a great blog post, listing compelling words to use on your resume organized by category! Here are some of my favorites which I highly recommend including:

  1. Implemented
  2. Consolidated
  3. Eliminated
  4. Enhanced
  5. Integrated
  6. Strengthened
  7. Mentored
  8. Fostered
  9. Quantified
  10. Partnered

Now, there is a fine line between a story and a Broadway production. Don’t go overboard on substituting every other word on your resume. You want to spice it up enough to capture the attention of the person making the “yes or no” pile decision, but you don’t want to overwhelm them. Also, choose words that are an accurate descriptor of what you’ve done. The goal is to deliver a standout resume to land an interview.  You still have to be true to yourself and support what you submitted. Set yourself up for success!

What’s The Buzz_ Buzzwords to Avoid and Add on Your Resume (1)So, I challenge you to revamp your resume, remove generic words, see where you can add powerful buzzwords; making a great first impression before even stepping foot in the door!


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