Resume keywords

How do you know which resume keywords to include? Start by reviewing the job descriptions you’re applying to and take note of the terms that routinely pop up on these job listings.

Now ask yourself these questions:

  • How do they define the position and its responsibilities?
  • What specific language do they use to state the core requirements for the role?
  • Do I have these same skills and experience with the responsibilities?

Resume action verbs

Some of the best words to use in a resume aren’t just keywords related to skills and responsibilities, but actions you have mastered from your previous experience. These are known as action verbs. Here are some of the best words you can include in your resume, most of which are action verbs:

  • Achieved
  • Improved
  • Trained/mentored
  • Managed
  • Created
  • Resolved
  • Volunteered
  • Influenced
  • Increased/decreased
  • Ideas
  • Negotiated
  • Launched
  • Revenue/profits
  • Under budget
  • Won

Additionally, here are the worst words to use in your resume and job application due to their overuse and lack of showing versus telling:

  • Track record
  • Team player
  • Best of breed
  • Go-getter
  • Synergy
  • Go-to person
  • Thought leadership
  • Value-add
  • Results-driven
  • Bottom-line
  • Hard worker
  • Strategic thinker
  • Dynamic
  • Self-motivated
  • Detail-oriented
  • Proactively