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Resume terms and words to replace right now

Jul 01, 2019

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

An average corporate job opening will attract about 250 resumes, and a job seeker has only up to seven seconds to entice a recruiter to keep reading theirs. Because an experienced recruiter with a trained eye is able to spot the skills and qualifications required for a role in those seconds, and using buzzwords, boring verbs or outdated cliches will underwhelm instead of impress. 

To get ahead in any job search, job seekers must take action on their resumes.

This can be done by using... Action verbs!

Brief project overviews written within your work history section will detail the scope of what you were hired to do for previous employers, but what did  is what's critical, so future ones can be confident in what you can do for them.

These are the boring resume words that can be better action verbs:

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

Duties include
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.

Assisted or helped
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.

Various or Variety - not an action verb (but still important)
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).

Job seekers can also take action by...  

Keeping away from cliches! 
Procom recruiters admit to the most cringe-worthy words and terms candidates should leave off their resumes:

Quick learner/go-getter
"Stating you're a quick learner or a go-getter means nothing without context," says Valerie Anderson-Migliore a Technical Recruiter with Procom, "What did you learn, how did you learn, in what time frame, how did it help you achieve success in your work?" Recruiters and hiring managers rely on quantifiable statements, so always ensure to use numbers, percentages and dates. 

Team player
A hiring manager expects you to want to achieve results and get along with co-workers, so it isn't necessary to say so on your CV. But using terms like "competitive environment" demonstrates an ability to produce under a level of pressure and achieve both individual and group goals.

People person 
Hiring  managers admit that likability is their #1 hiring factor, and being approachable is an expectation.  Christa Mancino, a Technical Recruiter with Procom advises, "Provide specific examples of your interactions with co-workers or teams you've led."

Hard worker
The quantifiable achievements on your resume will provide proof of your work ethic. "Be specific," advises Stephanie Oblitas, an Associate Recruiter with Procom. "You need to show how you added value or contributed to the company." 

Proven/trustworthy 
Although recruiters and hiring managers rarely take the time to read between the lines, the length of your previously held positions, project scopes and the people you report to will prove these qualities.

Seasoned/vast knowledge
Sometimes, even without meaning to, recruiters and hiring managers may unknowingly hold a bias, and these outdated terms could age you. Instead, using a word like "skilled" in conjunction with the industry you work in, allows you to describe specific skills that match the job description and increase the SEO value of your resume.

References available upon request
Resume real estate is valuable, and recruiters and hiring managers already assume you'll have references. So leave the statement off the CV and fill the space with your quantifiable achievements instead. 

Creative/outside-the-box thinker
Creative types really do show instead of tell, so you need to do the same if that's your professional proclamation. Nothing puts a creative more in a box than being common. 

Passionate
To fully demonstrate how much you love what you do, incorporate details about personal projects related to your line of work. Recruiters and hiring managers will also be checking your social media profiles, so if you're sharing industry or job related content, your passion will show.

Writing your resume can seem like a daunting task, but you can’t make something happen without taking action! Are you working with a staffing agency to find your next great opportunity? 

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