Hiring Managers Rank Best and Worst Words to Use in a Resume

Credit: MGN Online

Hiring Managers Rank Best and Worst Words to Use in a Resume

March 14, 2014 Updated Mar 14, 2014 at 2:35 PM EST

(CareerBuilder news release) One in six (17 percent) hiring managers spend 30 seconds or less, on average, reviewing résumés, according to a new CareerBuilder survey.

According to a CareerBuilder news release issued this week:

A majority (68 percent) spend less than two minutes. With so little time to capture interest, even a candidate’s word choice can make a difference. The nationwide sample of employers identified which commonly-used résumé terms are overused or cliché and which are strong additions.

The national survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from November 6 to December 2, 2013, and included a representative sample of 2,201 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes.

“Hiring managers prefer strong action words that define specific experience, skills and accomplishments,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “Subjective terms and clichés are seen as negative because they don’t convey real information. For instance, don’t say you are ‘results-driven’; show the employer your actual results.”

The Worst Résumé Terms

The following terms are résumé turn-offs as selected by respondents:

1. Best of breed: 38 percent

2. Go-getter: 27 percent

3. Think outside of the box: 26 percent

4. Synergy: 22 percent

5. Go-to person: 22 percent

6. Thought leadership: 16 percent

7. Value add: 16 percent

8. Results-driven: 16 percent

9. Team player: 15 percent

10. Bottom-line: 14 percent

11. Hard worker: 13 percent

12. Strategic thinker: 12 percent

13. Dynamic: 12 percent

14. Self-motivated: 12 percent

15. Detail-oriented: 11 percent

16. Proactively: 11 percent

17. Track record: 10 percent

The Best Résumé Terms

There are, however, several strong verbs and terms candidates can use to help describe their experience. The following are terms employers would like to see on a résumé:

1. Achieved: 52 percent

2. Improved: 48 percent

3. Trained/Mentored: 47 percent

4. Managed: 44 percent

5. Created: 43 percent

6. Resolved: 40 percent

7. Volunteered: 35 percent

8. Influenced: 29 percent

9. Increased/Decreased: 28 percent

10. Ideas: 27 percent

11. Negotiated: 25 percent

12. Launched: 24 percent

13. Revenue/Profits: 23 percent

14. Under budget: 16 percent

15. Won: 13 percent




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