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7 Words That’ll Take Your Resume to the Next Level


There’s nothing worse than sounding boring on a resume. Don’t get us wrong—it’s important to highlight your good qualities and say that you’re “passionate,” but tons of other collegiettes also claim to have that same quality. If you’re looking to replace some of the most overused words on your resume, look no further. We had experts Tom Dezell, author of Networking for the Novice, Nervous, or Naive Job Seeker, and Emily Miethner, president and founder of FindSpark, a career development community for young creatives, weigh in on what words to include on your resume to help you stand out from the crowd.

1. Influenced

You’ve probably put words like “passionate,” “hard-working,” or “driven” on your resume—but these qualities, Dezell says, are ones any employee should have—so putting them on your resume is just a waste of space. Instead, he suggests, “Try using words that really reflect the actions on your resume. For example, ‘Influenced previously inactive students to participate in campus-wide drive, leading to record turnout’ is a great way to show your effort.” A word such as “influence” is a more powerful term that shows that you take action in a professional work environment.

2. Created

Everyone uses the term “creativity” on his or her resume, so try to change it up a bit. Instead of just referring to creativity as a skill, use the term “created” as a verb to describe specific examples of how you are creative. “An example of how to use this word effectively would be, ‘Created the first ever website for the company,’” says Dezell. Next time you are referring to previous job experience, don’t write “showed creativity,” but instead explain that you created something of value or importance.  

3. Launched

There are many ways to express that you did something impressive enough to be on your resume, so don’t use boring verbs that a hiring professional has already read a hundred times. “Employers want to see results and the impact you made at each job,” says Miethner. “For example, ‘Launched Instagram profile and gained 2,000+ followers in three months’ sounds better than ‘Started Instagram account.’”

4. Improved

This is a great term to further explain that you have experience in making a positive impact. “Including the term ‘improve’ shows that you have the power to enhance something and make it better,” says Dezell. “You could say something like, ‘Improved sales by X percent in X months.’” Avoid using words like “developed” or “increased” and instead cut right to the word that really makes it a favorable quality.  

5. Achieved

Everyone talks about “success” on their resume, so try throwing in a more exciting word. “‘Achieved’ is a great word to express what you have accomplished in the past,” says Dezell. “Try saying something along the lines of ‘Achieved Magna Cum Laude graduation status.’” Not only does “achieved” sound fancier than something like “received,” but it’s more professional, too. Remember: You’re allowed to brag on a resume!

6. Resolved

Problem-solving may be listed under your skills, but including the word “resolve” on your resume will really go deeper into how exactly you solved problems. “Use language that makes you sound proactive rather than passive,” says Dezell. “For example, you could say, ‘Resolved errors to balance company ledgers.’”

7. Managed

You don’t have to hold the job title of manager to use this word on a resume. Instead, think about it in terms of smaller tasks. “For example, ‘Managed 500+ attendee guest list at VIP client event’ better shows that you're able to work in a high pressure environment,” says Miethner.

What word is the most overused on resumes? “Never use the word ‘helped,’” says Miethner. “If you did something, you did it.” Another thing you can do to spice up your resume is including numbers. “I believe in the power of numbers,” says Miethner. “If you have a hard time talking about results, you can use numbers to provide context.”

Before your next big interview, double check that you’ve replaced some of the drab words on your resume with ones that pack a bigger punch. “Rather than simply describing yourself with qualities like ‘creative’ ‘strategic’ ‘excellent writing skills,’ use strong vocabulary to describe things you've done successfully that show you have those qualities,” Dezell says. After all, your resume is the first thing most employers look at, so why not make that great first impression by really showing off what you’re capable of?

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