Resume Buzzwords to Use and Avoid

On average, recruiters and HR professionals spend six seconds looking over resumes. They are tired of reading overused filler words. Instead, they want to know what you’ve done to add value to the company rather than reading you’re a punctual hard working employee. When you have a resume loaded with cliché words that make a general statement, it makes the resume more likely to be tossed to the “no” pile. You want to use words that will sell your skills.

When trying to decide what words to use, the easiest method is selecting words off of or implied from the job description. Next, chose or reword them into action verbs. Finally, express what you did/ can do and how you made an impact on the company rather than a broad statement of your characteristics. You might’ve “managed a company’s finances,” but were you good at it? Try substituting “Improved company budget by cutting company cost 15%” instead.

For example buzzwords to use, check out this infographic to the left. To learn more about which CV buzzwords to avoid, check out the explanations below. As always, if you need any help with resumes or job searching in general, give our recruiters a shout at 865-246-2856.

Buzzword Not to Use on a Resume

Ambitious
Expert
Experienced
Focused
Hard Worker
Managed
Motivated
Passionate
Performed
Punctual
Responsible for
Skilled

LinkedIn releases a list of words every year that are the most overused words on their network. In 2018, the list included experienced, skilled, passionate, expert, motivated and focused. Additionally, it had specialized, leadership, creative and strategic. If your resume contains any of these buzzwords, your resume might be lumped in with the masses and getting skipped over (even if you’re extremely qualified). To combat that, try switching up your buzzwords for more specific words that convey your skills.

Some buzzwords aren’t necessary because it should be assumed you are those characteristics. For example, words like hard-workerpunctual, and motivated are good qualities to have, but it is stating the obvious. The same idea goes for the word “creative.” Instead, give examples of how you were a dedicated hard-working employee. Show that you’re creative because you “Created x, y, and z” or “Launched __ number of advertising campaigns.” Let your actions and accomplishments speak for you.

Furthermore, when using words like expert, be prepared to answer every question possible about that topic. Often, people who are experts don’t identify as such on their resumes. Instead, they let their work do talking for them. For example, someone who is an expert in a topic might put “Published (10) articles in __ magazine” or “Delivered speeches on *insert topic* at __ conference, ___ universities, and ___ networking event.”

Finally, just because it is an action verb doesn’t mean you should use it. The rule of thumb on what buzzwords to use in a resume is to choose words that help you sell your abilities to the company. Be specific in the value you bring.