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Resume Buzzwords for HR Departments: Actionable Verbs for Your Resume

Vocamotive Feb. 2, 2018

Although modesty is supposed to be a virtue, that’s certainly not the case when it comes to creating a resume that will make employers sit up and take notice. In fact, your resume represents the ideal opportunity for you to brag about all your achievements and to let everyone know just how fantastic you are, all the wonderful things you’ve achieved and, more to the point, what you could do for their company if they hired you. Since your specific focus when writing a resume is to sell yourself, it’s time to be a little creative. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should make things up, but it does mean that you need to come up with more exciting and emotive ways of livening up your actual achievements. You need to spice up your application with resume buzzwords.

The Importance Of Actionable Resume Buzzwords

Verbs are the be all and end all when it comes to writing your resume. Choosing the right ones can make the difference between being a shortlisted candidate and ending up at the back of the filing cabinet. Vague, weak, or just plain overused verbs not only won’t work in your favor but will actually diminish all of the accomplishments that you’ve made in your career so far. It couldn’t be more important, then, to choose words that present you in the best possible light and which showcase your skills and expertise in your chosen industry.
Passive verbs are tantamount to failure, so it couldn’t be more essential to choose active verbs which are appropriate to your industry. Leading action words that have been thoughtfully chosen will highlight your experience and skills rather than having a negative effect on your contribution to your former company. In today’s highly competitive job market, Human Resources departments have certain buzzwords that they are looking for when it comes to selecting prospective employees, and it’s important to get it right first time to avoid your resume being consigned to the trash. 

Avoiding The Cliche

With potentially hundreds of candidates applying for the same job, the task of reading through all those resumes can be an unenviable one. There is nothing more boring than reading a hundred almost identical texts, all of which look and sound the same. It’s no wonder that HR teams have developed clever tricks that they use to weed out the likely candidates from the rest, however if you want to be noticed, you need how to make sure your resume is one of the ones that makes it onto the shortlist pile.
Cliches are the death-knell of any resume. Using the same old tried and tested verbs to describe your former roles will make you look just like any other run of the mill candidate. To achieve your objective, you need to make more unique word selections which will make your abilities leap off the page.
With that in mind, here is a quick guide to some of the best verbs to use when writing your next resume that will make it more powerful and more effective. 

Express Yourself – Actionable Resume Buzzwords To Convey Your Communication Skills

 Most jobs these days require applicants to have excellent communication skills, both written and verbal. From the highest level posts to entry level positions, there are very few roles which don’t involve some sort of human contact, and being able to express yourself effectively and to convey the company’s brand message is key to securing employment.
All too often, applicants use words like “talked”, “organized”, “led” and “presented,” and although there’s nothing wrong with those words, they don’t really create a distinct impression of you as a dynamic character. With a few little tweaks, you can shine a spotlight on your skills and elevate your standing in one fell swoop.
Let’s take a look at the word “organized”. It’s a bit dull and doesn’t really stir up much interest in the minds of the recruitment team. How about changing the word to “orchestrated” instead? It means the same thing, but immediately it gives an extra connotation of power and coordination skills. In the same vein, we could also switch the words “talked” and “led” with “addressed” and “chaired”. These words are a little more formal and therefore carry more weight than just generic terms.

Communicating Your Ability To Organize

You can probably count on one hand the number of jobs which don’t specify a need for excellent organizational skills. Whether you’re applying for an office role or a managerial post, being able to organize your time and work efficiently is the key to success. So, how can you demonstrate this to the HR team at your prospective employer’s company?
Let’s take a look at some of the standard words that the average candidate might use to express their organizational abilities. Of course, there is “organized”, but you might also see “filed” or “ordered” cropping up. Although these words accurately describe what you’ve done, they aren’t exciting or emotive. So how about changing them to “cataloged”, “operated”, “monitored” or “executed” instead?
The subtle nuances in these replacement words make all the difference. For example, if you “executed” a project rather than “organized” it, it suggests that you not only set it up in the first place but that you actually saw it through to its successful conclusion. Even basic, functional descriptions such as “I filed accounts paperwork” can be improved with an upgrade to “I was responsible for monitoring client accounts”. While the meaning is the same, the effect is completely different in the mind of the reader and the impression of you will be hugely improved. 

Prove Your Management Skills

If you’re applying for a senior level post, you need to be prepared to put even more effort in to writing your resume. The competition for managerial posts can be tough, so making yourself stand out from the crowd couldn’t be more important.
The average words which Human Resources tend to see on resumes for managerial post candidates include “oversaw”, “handled” and “led”. You’ll probably agree that these words, while functional, aren’t remotely exciting, and certainly won’t make you appear to be a stand out candidate for the position. So, what changes can you make to impress the recruitment team?
Proving your ability to lead is essential when applying for a job in any kind of management, so how can you demonstrate everything that you’ve achieved in this area in an engaging way? “leading” a team isn’t anywhere near as exciting as “establishing” one, as this gives the impression that you had the ability and drive to create a team from scratch. Another word which you should avoid is “oversaw”. Overseeing a team actually comes across in a negative way when you’re applying for a high level job. While it may be fine for someone applying for a supervisory post, when looking for the ideal management candidate, HR teams are looking for someone who is proactive and who takes an active part in the project rather than simply watching over it. Expressing how you have “delegated” tasks shows in a much more effective manner how you really participated in that particular project. 

Avoid The Dangers

Of course, there are some pitfalls to avoid when creating your new and upgraded resume. The primary danger is accidentally repeating yourself, using the same exciting action word again and again. This will actually reduce its impact on the reader and will instead downgrade your status and make your resume even more dull and boring than it would have been if you had left the original average words in place. If you’re struggling to find a word that truly expresses your achievements, skills and experience properly, it’s a good idea to dig out a thesaurus or dictionary and look for a suitable word that captures the essence of your abilities in a way that is sure to create the right impression. Before you submit your finished version, however, always ask a colleague or a trusted friend to read it over, just to make sure that you haven’t made any foolish mistakes or errors and that it reads through fluidly.

Last Updated on February 13, 2018 by Voca_GC