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CareerBuilder Survey: Best And Worst Words For A Resume

Thinking back to the presentations I did at the University of St Thomas the past month (Social Media – Best Practices for Maintaining an Optimal Online Presence) one of the most frequently asked questions I received was:

You talk to us about using buzzwords, keywords and acronyms in our profiles and resume… what are some of the words you most like to see?

Given the amount of time we had I did not get into a long list but I did mention a few themes:

  • Increased sales
  • Cut costs
  • Increased web traffic, newsletter signups, engagement with customers
  • Made something more efficient

And add numbers… as in statistics like:

By doing this “thing” we increased sales “X”%

In streamlining this “process” we cut costs “X”%

Implementing “this strategy” we increased web site traffic “X” times

Thankfully CareerBuilder has survey results released last week that will help us with this

Hiring Managers Rank Best and Worst Words to Use in a Résumé in New CareerBuilder Survey

From the survey:

  • 17% hiring managers spend 30 seconds or less, on average, reviewing resumes
  • 68% spend less than two minutes

Resumes… this gets me into a whole long… really long tangent about how I think that those who are relying on the perfect resume, one that is totally optimized, are missing the boat.

(Same goes for LinkedIn profiles)

Is it important?

Yes.

Would I rather a job seeker spend time networking and finding someone to give this “piece of paper” too?

Absolutely. I don’t want to rely on an Applicant Tracking System to find me in a database of resumes.

I have done this tangent before and will do it again soon.

Back to the survey…  generally I agree with everything below.

The Worst Resume Terms

The following terms are resume turn-offs as selected by respondents:

1. Best of breed: 38 percent

2. Go-getter: 27 percent

3. Think outside of the box: 26 percent

4. Synergy: 22 percent

5. Go-to person: 22 percent

6. Thought leadership: 16 percent

7. Value add: 16 percent

8. Results-driven: 16 percent

9. Team player: 15 percent

10. Bottom-line: 14 percent

11. Hard worker: 13 percent

12. Strategic thinker: 12 percent

13. Dynamic: 12 percent

14. Self-motivated: 12 percent

15. Detail-oriented: 11 percent

16. Proactively: 11 percent

17. Track record: 10 percent

The Best Resume Terms

There are, however, several strong verbs and terms candidates can use to help describe their experience. The following are terms employers would like to see on a resume:

1. Achieved: 52 percent

2. Improved: 48 percent

3. Trained/Mentored: 47 percent

4. Managed: 44 percent

5. Created: 43 percent

6. Resolved: 40 percent

7. Volunteered: 35 percent

8. Influenced: 29 percent

9. Increased/Decreased: 28 percent

10. Ideas: 27 percent

11. Negotiated: 25 percent

12. Launched: 24 percent

13. Revenue/Profits: 23 percent

14. Under budget: 16 percent

15. Won: 13 percent

 

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