Why Are Buzzwords on a Resume Important?
Resume keywords such as action verbs can infuse your resume with energy, confidence and authority. They also help make your resume memorable to hiring managers because you use unique, descriptive power words.
Strategic resume words must:
- Catch your eye and be unique.
- Express passion and individuality.
- Expand on your accomplishments.
- Add personality to your achievements.
Imagine a hiring manager looking for an assistant manager to help oversee day-to-day operations. Most resumes will probably phrase their managerial experience with some variation of “managed a small team of hardworking staff.” While this statement indicates management experience, it lacks the information that a hiring manager wants to know, such as the number of people overseen, the types of duties handled or the leadership skills needed to supervise staff.
The right resume power words can help you stand out and effectively define your managerial skills. For example, this job candidate uses the following four resume buzzwords to describe multiple skills:
- “Directed multiple teams of four across day shifts to oversee a sales floor with 200 hourly guests”
- “Mentored three staff members on register cashout and shift scheduling to train potential shift managers internally.”
The most effective way to find power words for resumes is to think of more specific synonyms, aka words that mean something similar to another word or phrase. Let’s look at three common resume words and alternate good words to use on a resume.
Passive resume words
Instead of “led,” use:
Instead of “met,” try:
Instead of “improved,” consider:
Resume Power Words for Different Scenarios
Not every job is the same, so not every job seeker will use the exact descriptive resume power words on their application. We crafted several lists of suggested keywords to use in a resume based on the potential needs of the job.
See below for additional leadership, communication, critical thinking, productivity and networking resume power words.
16 leadership power words
The following synonyms can effectively describe your leadership skills.
22 expressive communication power words
These descriptive power words help describe your effective communication style.
- Culturally conscious
- Giving feedback
15 critical thinking power words
Hiring managers value quick thinking. The following descriptive critical thinking phrases can reflect these skills.
- Follow up
- Quick learning
- Time management
20 productivity power words
The best employees meet deadlines and production schedules. These resume words help expand your productivity skills.
- Time management
11 networking power words
Creating respectful and lasting professional relationships can help you discover additional career opportunities. These networking skills demonstrate how you can forge effective workplace relationships with your potential co-workers, marking you as a seamless addition to a team.
- Customer service skills
- Public speaking
Which resume buzzwords to avoid with 8 examples
The following list of resume keywords can be valuable when used sparingly and effectively. However, we’re pointing them out as a cautionary tale — these words are commonly used in the job market and have lost some of their potency due to overuse.
If you find a natural opportunity to use one of the previously mentioned resume power words, lead with those instead of the following overused buzzwords:
- Creative: This word means nothing without proof. Provide examples of your creativity instead.
- Team player: Collaboration is valuable in the workplace, but hiring managers can learn more through evidence of teamwork.
- Quick learner: This phrase is hard to quantify without proof. Describe the time needed to learn one job-relevant skill or tool instead.
- Unique thinker: An employer won’t believe this statement on blind faith alone. Describe a project or idea you proposed that significantly improved a workplace or profit.
- People person: Same advice as “team player,” — describe where and how you interact with co-workers and clients instead.
- Experienced in [skill]: Instead of listing skills you’re good at, describe how you’ve applied your skills to perform your duties.
- Computer wiz/ninja/guru: This corporate buzzword offers no information on the technical skills you can offer. Describe the functional knowledge you possess instead.
- Perfectionist: Avoid this empty noun unless multiple work samples or a professional portfolio follows this phrase.
How to Find These Buzzwords By Using HR Tools
Good news! There are additional ways to find unique keywords for each job opening. Most recruiters and hiring managers rely on applicant tracking systems (ATS) — these programs rely on specific text markers and highlighted keywords to grade applicants and delete poor-scoring resumes. You can find these resume keywords by scanning a job advertisement for the following text and font treatments.
- Repeated duties or skills.
- Bolded words and phrases.
- Underlined responsibilities.
- Highlighted job requirements.
- Slightly rephrased requirements.
Try an Online Tool Boosted With Resume Power Words
Don’t overthink your resume — you want your accomplishments to sound like you. Try using our online Resume Builder to draft your resume first. This intuitive tool includes natural and job-specific resume buzzwords based on your work experience and skills. Answer a few questions to unlock dozens of suggested, prewritten content for your job title.