6 Words to Leave off Your Resume If You Want to Get Hired

Electronic applications, portfolios, and LinkedIn profiles have expanded the ways in which employers launch a hiring search, but the resume remains the classic cornerstone of the hiring process.  If you’re seeking work, you’ll need a resume that works for you.

To help ensure you make it to the interview stage, it’s important to provide a resume that emphasizes your abilities instead of burying them in clichés, buzzwords, and obscure language.  Here are six words to skip – and their more powerful substitutes:


Everyone faces the temptation to make their resume sound more impressive or professional by adding syllables.  “Utilize” instead of “use” is one of the most common offenders.

Instead of sounding more professional, however, adding flowery language just makes it harder for hiring managers to figure out what you actually accomplished.  Stick to plain language, and add quantifiable details.  For instance, instead of saying “I utilized my sales knowledge,” say “I used my skills to increase our department’s sales by 10 percent in the first quarter of 2013.”


If you’re tempted to use “assisted,” ask yourself: Did you really just fetch coffee and sharpen pencils, or were you part of the team needed to accomplish the goal?  Don’t sell yourself short; if you contributed to the final product in a meaningful way, skip “assisted” in favor of “contributed to” or “collaborated.”

“Responsible for”

These words waste precious resume space and tend to bore hiring managers.  Skip them in favor of a bulleted list that begins with active verbs describing what you did.  “Proposed,” “implemented,” “improved,” or “maintained” are all more exciting than “responsible for….”


Sure, “worked” is an active verb – but it’s also a vague one that doesn’t tell the hiring manager anything they don’t already know.  (If it’s on your resume, they know you “worked” at it.)  Instead, use the word that describes the kind of work involved.  “Planned,” “launched,” “increased,” “organized,” or “calculated” all tell the hiring manager what you did.


As a bullet point, “objective” may be useful.  As a subheading, it’s outdated.  Instead, consider using a summary statement as an introduction to your resume.  A summary statement puts your work in context and helps answer the hiring manager’s number-one question: “How does hiring this person help us?”

Anything ending in –ly

Words that end in “-ly” are also known as “adverbs.”  On a resume, they are almost always unnecessary.  They also waste space and make it harder for hiring managers to see what you accomplished.  Instead of using adverbs, choose the right verb to describe your work.  “Periodically reviewed bookkeeping” has far less impact than “Analyzed income and expenses each quarter.”

Need help polishing your resume and finding the right companies to send it to?  The experienced recruiters at Marquee Staffing can help you connect with great employers in Orange County.  Contact us today to learn more.

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