175 Good Words for a Resume and When to Include Them
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 9 January 2023
Published 22 November 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Including powerful words on your resume can help you attract a hiring manager's attention. This can help increase your chances of getting an interview and potentially a new job. If you're in the process of looking for a new role, you may wish to explore some good words to incorporate into your resume before you apply. In this article, we explain what good words for a resume are, show you how to use them and list 175 examples you may use.
What are good words for a resume?
Good words for a resume or cover letter are often strong or powerful words that help you clearly express your abilities, traits, experiences and achievements. These words could be adjectives that describe your work ethic, verbs that articulate things that you have done and nouns that describe you as a person. Using the right combination of words on your resume can help you ensure your resume stands out among others in the application process.
Related: Q&A: How Long Should a Resume Be?
How to decide which words to use on your resume
While there are a variety of words that can be good to use on a resume, it's important to choose words that accurately reflect your traits and experience. Here are some tips for deciding which words may be best for your resume:
1. Edit your resume for each prospective employer
It can be a good idea to tailor your resume for each potential employer. This can help you ensure that it applies to the specific position. When a hiring manager receives a resume that seems to detail a good fit for the job on offer, they are likely to shortlist it. This means you may move to the next round of the application process.
2. Read the job listing thoroughly
The job listing typically contains information about the kind of employee the employer is seeking. For example, if you read the listing for a customer service representative and notice that they want proactive and positive individuals, you can attempt to include synonyms of these words on your resume. You could describe yourself as self-motivated, focused, optimistic or friendly. Instead of copying the words in the job listing exactly, try to find some alternative words that you feel match the description's tone.
3. Consider your personal skills
After reading the job description, you can think about the skills that could make you a good candidate for the job. For example, if they ask for people who have leadership skills, you could use some of the words that describe a leadership role. These may include verbs like advocate, inspire, orchestrate, pioneer and unite. It's important to only describe skills that you have.
4. Do further research on their website
As you prepare to apply for a job, it may be a good idea to research the company's website. You can see if they have any information about their company's ethos or any particular information for prospective employees. For example, if you see they pride themselves on being a sustainable company and you also have an environmentally friendly mindset, you could highlight this on your resume by using power words like eco-conscious to describe yourself.
Examples of powerful words for a resume
The best words to use on your resume can often depend on what kind of job you're applying for. Below you can find some good words to use for describing yourself and your duties in different roles:
Describing a leadership role
Here are some verbs you can use to describe your leadership responsibilities:
Describing an achievement
You can use these verbs when discussing your specific accomplishments:
Describing a technical or engineering role
If you're applying for an engineering or technical role, you may use these words:
Describing a customer service role
Here are some words that relate to customer service positions:
Describing a creative role
These terms can help show your creative skills:
Describing a sales role
Here are some sample words relevant to a sales role:
Describing a project management role
These terms can show your project management skills:
What are the benefits of using powerful words on your resume?
There are several benefits to using powerful words on your resume. These can include:
Shows a positive message
Using optimistic words can leave your prospective employer with a positive mindset and make them more likely to hire. You can easily use these positive words to show your excitement about the role. For example, you could say: I am passionate about project management. The word passionate can help convey your enthusiasm to an employer.
Provide more detailed descriptions
The right words can help you articulate your personality and job type. For example, in your resume objective, instead of saying: I worked in sales, you could say: I enthusiastically managed a full team of sales representatives. The words enthusiastically and managed help to describe your personality and job.
Using a range of powerful words throughout your resume can help it have more variety and, essentially, improve its readability. This can help make your resume more inviting and compelling. For example, instead of saying: I wrote content for a range of different websites, wrote blog posts with SEO in mind and wrote social media descriptions, you could write: I created content for a range of different websites, developed blog posts with SEO in mind and composed social media descriptions. The second example can be more compelling, making your previous experience, and ultimately yourself, seem more interesting.
Tips for writing your resume
Below you can find a few extra tips to help you with the task of putting together a great resume:
Use a professional tone
On a resume, it's important to maintain a professional tone. Try to be clear about what exactly you are saying. It's best to avoid casual phrases or figurative language.
Edit and proofread it thoroughly
Before sending your resume to your prospective employer, it's a good idea to ensure that you thoroughly edit and proofread it. You can check for any grammatical and spelling errors and make sure that it reads well. You could also try reading it out loud to test how it sounds. Alternatively, you could send it to friends or family members and ask them to proofread it for you. You may like to ask them to make comments rather than edit the document directly.
Use original phrases
Try to avoid using cliches or overused phrases. Instead, try to use more original words that accurately describe your unique qualities. These words can add more life to your resume and can make you seem more original.
Related: 6 Universal Rules for Resume Writing
Provide specific evidence
Rather than telling your employer about your skills, consider using descriptions to explain and support these skills. For example, instead of saying: I am hardworking, you could say: In my last job, I worked on 16 budgeting projects and successfully met my targets. This can tell the employer that you are hardworking without actually having to say those exact words. Doing this can help to keep your writing more succinct and to the point and may make your resume or cover letter easier for employers to read.
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