Land the Job

'Avoid these 2 resume words at all costs,' says career expert—here are 35 power verbs to use instead

VioletaStoimenova | Getty

You only get less than 7.5 seconds to grab a hiring manager's attention when they read your resume for the first time.

As a career coach who has helped hundreds of people polish their resumes and land jobs, I've seen too many candidates focus mostly on formatting, such as the font, spacing and page count.

But words matter more. According to Harvard resume experts, your chances of getting noticed are much higher when you use strong, actionable and confident verbs.

This also means knowing what to keep off, and the two words I always tell people to remove from their resumes are: "responsible for."

"Responsible for": Avoid these 2 resume words at all costs

Being responsible for something is just a circumstance. Saying you were "responsible for [X]" is a weak and generic way to describe your abilities and accomplishments.

Of course you had responsibilities. Doesn't everyone? And if not, then did you really bring any value to the company?

I also advise staying away from general office buzzwords and confusing phrases. These are words that you might hear people say all the time, but are often incredibly vague.

A few examples:

  • Deep dive
  • Drill down
  • Flesh out
  • Game plan
  • Hard worker
  • Move the needle
  • Moving parts
  • Synergize
  • Team player
  • Think outside the box

Power words that do belong on your resume

Here are 35 strong, confident and truly descriptive resume words that companies want to see:

Resume words for leadership

1. Directed
2. Managed
3. Spearheaded
4. Supervised
5. Trained

Resume words for teamwork

6. Collaborated
7. Contributed
8. Joined
9. Integrated
10. Synchronized

Resume words for achievement

11. Accomplished
12. Completed
13. Delivered
14. Established
15. Formulated

Resume words for communication

16. Authored
17. Connected
18. Defined
19. Illustrated
20. Presented

Resume words for improvement

21. Advanced
22. Boosted
23. Enhanced
24. Increased
25. Maximized

Resume words for research

26. Assessed
27. Identified
28. Mapped
29. Tested
30. Verified

Resume words for creativity

31. Built
32. Constructed
33. Designed
34. Developed
35. Inspired

Ken Coleman is the bestselling author of "From Paycheck to Purpose" and host of "The Ken Coleman Show." Known as "America's Career Coach," he helps people discover how to do work they love and produce impactful results. Follow him on Twitter @KenColeman.

Don't miss:

We asked people in NYC Elon Musk's favorite interview question
We asked people in NYC Elon Musk's favorite interview question