5 Resume words to replace

By Courtney Jones

resume words

Sticks and stones can break your bones but words can also hurt your resume.

When you’re looking to stand out in the job search, your resume is what’s going to get you in for an interview, so you’re going to have to inspire the attention of the person reading it. And you’ve only got about six solid seconds to do it. So listen to these wise words of wisdom when we tell you that you need to choose your words wisely. All it takes is a little action.


Action verbs

A verb is a word used to describe an action, and that’s just what recruiters and hiring managers want to see on your resume: actions. It’s imperative that your CV details the scope of your responsibilities and accomplishments; demonstrating what you’ve done for past employers, so future ones can be confident in what you can do for them. To do this, you need to replace boring passive voice verbs with action adverbs.


  1. Responsible for

Your job duties aren’t impressive, but what you’ve accomplished while performing them is.

Boring: Responsible for increasing social media traffic across all 14 company locations.

Better: Increased social media traffic by 30% within the first 90 days across all 14 company locations, generating new business leads and a 5% increase in conversions.


2. Duties include

This phrase is as equally unimpressive as the aforementioned.

Boring: Duties include raising $250,000 in fundraising initiatives for company’s charity.

Better: Raised over $250,000 for company’s charity by planning and executing fundraising initiatives including door-to-door recruitment, bake sales and silent auction.


3. Assisted or helped

Demonstrating that you assisted someone is only as informative as you make it, no matter what your assistance entailed.

Boring: Assisted the manager of the Legal Department with small claims cases.

Better: Handled all phases of litigation of small claims cases with the manager of the Legal Department; directed court clerk and court commissioner on what action to take on the company’s cases.


4. Various or Variety

So you handled a bunch of stuff. Cool! Being specific is what will demonstrate your knowledge and capabilities.

Boring: Implemented various malware prevention against advanced and targeted attacks.

Better: Implemented malware prevention against advanced and targeted attacks using User and entity behavioural analytics, Endpoint detection and response (EDR) and Security testing for DevOps (DevSecOps).


5. References available upon request

Okay, so this one doesn’t get replaced with an action verb because the only action needed is to take it out.

Boring: Listing the obvious.

Better: Leaving valuable resume real estate open for more space to list your accomplishments.

Writing your resume can seem like a daunting task, but you can’t make something happen without action.



by Courtney Jones

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