20 Resume Buzzwords To Help You Land An Interview (and 20 To Avoid)

Black and gold fountain pen over paper with resume buzzwords - Image by Magoosh

Landing a job interview is no easy task, but it all starts with your resume. Whether you need to spruce up your old resume or start from scratch, you’ll need to focus on the correct word choice. Choosing the right resume buzzwords helps you look smart, professional, and unique. Alternatively, choosing the wrong words could have the opposite effect.

While the most important part of any resume is highlighting your skills and experience, word choice can really help you stand out from other applicants. So, what are the best resume buzzwords to use? Just as importantly, what are some resume buzzwords to avoid?

Top Buzzwords to Include in Your Resume

It doesn’t matter if you’re applying for college or job hunting, the person reading your resume will want to know what you have done. This means that you will need to use the right resume action words (i.e. verbs) to demonstrate exactly how your actions and experiences make you stand out.

10 Action Buzzwords

Before we take a look at these resume buzzwords, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t just stuff these words into your resume at random. You should only use terms that are relevant to you, your experiences, and the position you want to get. In any case, here are 10 action buzzwords that will help improve your resume:

1. “Launched”

“Launched” is a great alternative to more simplistic terms like “started” or “created.” It also helps put emphasis on projects, businesses, or ideas that you had a hand in developing.

  • For example: I launched my first smartphone application while I was attending college.

2. “Managed”

Though “managed” is a pretty common verb on resumes, it really draws the attention of recruiters and hiring managers. Managing a team, project, or process is impressive. It also implies that you possess a wide range of useful skills.

  • For example: I managed the IT department for my previous employer.

3. “Improved”

“Improving” anything is inherently positive. Use this resume buzzword to discuss anything (a process, idea, product, etc) that you made better with your knowledge and expertise.

  • For example: Though our shipping process worked well, I improved efficiency to save my company thousands of dollars.

4. “Negotiated”

While this term may not be applicable to everyone, “negotiated” is a great way to show authority and expert communication skills. It is best to use it in conjunction with a positive result.

  • For example: I negotiated a $2 million deal to help my business acquire our top competitor in the market.

5. “Influenced”

Though we recommend focusing on concrete actions and accomplishments, “influenced” is a good (albeit somewhat vague) way to describe your impact on something. “Influenced” can show that your actions have a positive effect.

  • For example: My blueprint influenced the team’s final design of the product.

6. “Increased/Decreased”

At the end of the day, most of the people reading your resume want to know about concrete results. While terms like “increased” or “decreased” may seem simplistic, they also get the point across quickly and effectively.

  • For example: I increased international sales by 15% and decreased overhead costs by 4%.

7. “Designed”

“Designed” shows that you have the skills to plan, build, and execute a given project. Resume buzzwords like “designed” also imply that you possess creativity and ingenuity.

  • For example: I designed all of the logos for my company’s website.

8. “Surpassed”

“Surpassed” is a great way to show that you exceeded expectations in some way. It naturally implies that you can go the extra mile in your work or studies.

  • For example: My performance surpassed my manager’s expectations, which helped me secure a promotion.

9. “Mediated”

Most positions require you to interact with others, which means that you need to be able to communicate effectively and, potentially, resolve disputes. “Mediated” is another term that implies a wide range of skills — from conflict management to ethical decision-making.

  • For example: During my time working in Human Resources, I successfully mediated hundreds of disputes between employees.

10. “Learned”

“Learned” may sound a little basic, but sometimes it is better to be direct. Unlike “studied” (which does not specify if any new knowledge was acquired) or “mastered” (which sounds grandiose and overconfident), “learned” is the perfect way to show that you know how to hit the books and acquire a new skill.

  • For example: In college, I learned how to speak English at the intermediate level.

10 Descriptive Buzzwords

Now that we’ve covered the right verbs to use, it’s time to look at the best descriptive buzzwords (i.e. adjectives) to describe yourself and your skills. But again, note that you should only use terms that actually apply to you and the job you want. So, here are 10 descriptive resume buzzwords to help you land the interview:

1. “Valuable”

Though you should generally avoid using overly broad or vague terms, the person reading your resume is looking for value. Value can mean different things to different people, but describing yourself as “valuable” lets the reader know that you have something of quality to provide.

  • For example: If hired, I know that I could be a valuable addition to your team.

2. “Well-versed”

“Well-versed” is a better way to say that you are “knowledgeable” about a certain subject. The reader will naturally infer that you are skilled and have relevant experience.

  • For example: I am well-versed in statistical analysis and A/B testing.

3. “Committed”

Companies and other organizations want to choose applicants who will be determined and loyal. “Committed” is a great way to show both of these qualities.

  • For example: I am committed to providing high-quality results at all times.

4. “Qualified”

Though the person evaluating your resume will ultimately decide if you are “qualified” for the position, it doesn’t hurt to sprinkle in a few resume buzzwords that hint at your qualifications. It is especially helpful to use “qualified” in relation to technical skills or uncommon talents.

  • For example: I am qualified to operate a forklift.

5. “Proficient”

“Proficient” not only means that you are qualified to do something, but it implies that you know how to do it well. Needless to say, you should only use “proficient” when referencing skills with which you have extensive knowledge or experience.

  • For example: I am proficient in C++ and Pascal language programming.

6. “Analytical”

Being able to analyze information effectively is useful in just about any field. Therefore, describing yourself as “analytical” is a great way to express a positive feature of your personality or performance abilities.

  • For example: I always approach problems with an analytical mindset.

7. “Enthusiastic”

Sometimes, resumes can come across as dry, boring lists of information. A word like “enthusiastic” reminds the reader that your resume comes from a lively, interesting person.

  • For example: Even when I took on uninteresting tasks, I always remained enthusiastic about my work.

8. “Diligent”

“Diligent” can help you compose one of those resume power phrases that will really draw the reader’s attention. Plus, diligence is something that every recruiter or hiring manager wants in an applicant.

  • For example: I am a diligent employee who is always ready to face new challenges.

9. “Collaborative”

Describing yourself as “collaborative” is a better way to say that you are a team player. Most jobs will require you to work with other people, so this is one of several essential resume skills to include.

  • For example: I helped establish a collaborative work environment at my last job.

10. “Resourceful”

This term shows that you know how to solve problems. Describing yourself as “resourceful” is also a great way to show versatility.

  • For example: Having worked in this field for 10 years, I know how to be resourceful and find solutions to challenging problems.

20 Resume Buzzwords to Avoid

Finally, even if a word sounds good, it may not be the right fit for your resume. The truth is that many words are outdated, generic, vague, overused, cliche, or just irrelevant. So, here are 20 resume buzzwords to avoid:

  1. Experienced
  2. Passionate
  3. Expert
  4. Master
  5. Focused
  6. Hard worker
  7. Go-getter
  8. Responsible
  9. Synergy
  10. Rockstar
  11. Accomplished
  12. Results-oriented
  13. Familiar
  14. Unique
  15. Proactive
  16. Team player
  17. Facilitated
  18. Fashioned
  19. Leadership
  20. Strategic

We hope you found this list on the top resume buzzwords to use (and ones to avoid) helpful! If you’d like to learn more about how to write a resume in English, visit Magoosh Speaking today!

Matthew Jones

Matthew Jones

Matthew Jones is a freelance writer with a B.A. in Film and Philosophy from the University of Georgia. It was during his time in school that he published his first written work. After serving as a casting director in the Atlanta film industry for two years, Matthew acquired TEFL certification and began teaching English abroad. In 2017, Matthew started writing for dozens of different brands across various industries. During this time, Matthew also built an online following through his film blog. If you’d like to learn more about Matthew, you can connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn!
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