Best and Worst Words to Use in a Resume

One in six hiring managers spend 30 seconds or less, on average, reviewing résumés, according to a new CareerBuilder survey. A majority spend less than two minutes. With so little time to capture interest, a candidate’s word choice can make a big difference. The nationwide survey of employers identified which commonly-used résumé terms are overused or cliché and which are strong additions.

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One in six hiring managers spend 30 seconds or less, on average, reviewing résumés, according to a new CareerBuilder survey. A majority spend less than two minutes. With so little time to capture interest, a candidate’s word choice can make a big difference. The nationwide survey of employers identified which commonly-used résumé terms are overused or cliché and which are strong additions.
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Courtesy of Caitlin Y.
Worst: Best of breed
nNearly 40 percent of employers found this phrase to be a resume "turn off."
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Bloomberg via Getty Images
Worst: Go-getter
nTwenty-seven percent of hiring managers disliked "go-getter" on resumes.
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Getty Images
Worst: Think outside of the box
n"Think outside the box" was listed as a turn-off for 26 percent of employers.
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Getty Images
Worst: Synergy
nMore than 20 percent of hiring managers felt "synergy" was not a good term for a resume.
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Getty Images
Worst: Go-to person
nAt least 22 percent of hiring managers said being a "go-to person" was not something you should put on a resume.
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Getty Images
Worst: Thought leadership
n"Thought leadership" was listed as a turn-off for 16 percent of employers.
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Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Worst: Value add
nSixteen percent of employers said "value add" should not be on your resume.
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Getty Images/Blend Images
Worst: Results driven
nBeing "results driven" was something that 16 percent of employers considered a turn-off on a resume.
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Worst: Team player
nFifteen percent of employers said they did not want to see "team player" on a resume.
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AP
Worst: Bottom line
nNearly 15 percent of hiring managers said to leave "bottom line" off your resume.
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Getty Images/Image Source
Worst: Hard worker
nThirteen percent of employers said the words "hard worker" were not ideal for a resume.
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Worst: Strategic thinker
n"Strategic thinker" was listed as a turn-off for 12 percent of employers.
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Getty Images
Worst: Dynamic
nTwelve percent of hiring managers said "dynamic" was a turn-off on a resume.
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AP/KEVIN RIVOLI
Worst: Self-motivated
nMore than 10 percent of employers said not to use "self-motivated" on a resume.
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Getty Images
Worst: Detail-oriented
nEleven percent of hiring managers did not like "detail-oriented" on resumes.
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Worst: Track record
n"Track record" was disliked on resumes by 10 percent of employers.
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There are, however, several strong verbs and terms candidates can use to help describe their experience. Click through for terms employers would like to see on a resume.
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Steve Covault
Best: Achieved
nMore than 50 percent of employers said "achieved" is a good word to use on resumes.
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Best: Improved
nNearly 50 percent of hiring managers said they liked to see "improved" on a resume.
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Image Source
Best: Trained
nForty-seven percent of hiring managers liked to see "trained" or "mentored" on a resume.
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Getty Images/Gorilla RM
Best: Managed
nNearly 45 percent of employers liked to see "managed" on a resume.
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Best: Created
nMore than 40 percent of employers said candidates should use the word "created" on a resume.
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Getty Images
Best: Resolved
nForty percent of hiring managers liked to see the word "resolved" on a resume.
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FILE
Best: Volunteered
n"Volunteered" was a term 35 percent of employers would like to see on a resume.
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Getty Images/Blend Images
Best: Influenced
nNearly 30 percent of hiring managers liked to see the word "influenced" on a resume.
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Best: Increased/Decreased
nAlmost 30 percent of employers said the words "increased" or "decreased" were good words to use in a resume.
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Alamy
Best: Ideas
nTwenty-seven percent of hiring managers said "ideas" was a good term to incorporate into a resume.
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NBC Local Media
Best: Negotiated
nOne quarter of employers surveyed liked to see the word "negotiated" on a resume.
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Getty Images
Best: Launched
nNearly 25 percent of hiring managers said "launched" was a good term to use on a resume.
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Best: Revenue
nTwenty-three percent of employers said the words "revenue" and "profits" were good words for a resume.
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Getty Images
Best: Under budget
nThe words" under budget" were recommended for use by more than 15 percent of employers.
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Getty Images
Best: Won
nThirteen percent of employers said "won" was a good term to put on a resume.
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