Avoid These 6 Verbs on Your Resume, Experts Say: ‘Pinpoint Exactly What You Were Responsible For'

Source: Envato Elements

When it comes to putting your best foot forward on your resume, the majority of people know to use powerful action verbs like "advanced" and "spearheaded." Nearly all, 93% of job seekers include one or more action-oriented phrases on theirs, according to resume writing site Kickresume, which analyzed 176,220 resumes written in 2022.

It's important to "start your proof points with an action verb because it immediately draws the reader in and conveys that you have a broad array of accomplishments," says Octavia Goredema, career coach and author of "PREP, PUSH, PIVOT."

But not all action verbs are created equal. While verbs like "grew" and "built" by definition illustrate improvements you've made on the job, others don't paint as clear a picture of what you've done. Here are six action verbs to use sparingly on your resume.

  • Managed
  • Created
  • Helped
  • Assisted
  • Supported
  • Facilitated

The problem with verbs like "helped," "supported" and "assisted" is, even as action verbs, they're a bit passive. They give the sense that you were just there, doing what you were told to do instead of actively participating.

It's about "using verbs that are going to explain what you owned and were responsible for and can put your name on," says Amanda Augustine, career expert at TopResume. Those verbs will give a sense of the kind of initiative you've taken in the past and can give in the future. She suggests trying alternatives like "coached," "represented" or "clarified."

It's about trying "to pinpoint exactly what you were responsible for and then how it contributed to the overall effect," she says.

When it comes to verbs like "created" and "managed," those can get a little dry, says Augustine. Think, "how can you use richer words that really bring to life what you were doing in ways that aren't so boring that we've seen a million times?" she says.

Instead of "managed," she suggests trying "directed," "cultivated" and "guided." Instead of "created," she suggests "designed," "conceptualized," "originated" and "shaped."

Big picture, it's not a huge deal if these show up on your resume from time to time. "Use it one, use it twice, fine," says Augustine. "More than that, you need to start getting more creative."

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