Must-Have Words For Winning Resume


best resume words

We all know the undeniable power of words. A word can breathe life into you, motivate you to reach new heights or put you down in no time. That’s why we pick words carefully when communicating with co-workers, boss and people outside of work. We know that our choice of vocabulary heavily influences the way we are perceived by others, the impression we make as well as the success of our communication.

When it comes to writing your resume, the descriptive words you choose to use eventually determine its success as well.  Paradoxically, the same information in resume given in other words can totally change the HR’s perception of the candidate. And you need to use it to your advantage – prior to resume submission online, make sure you’ve used the strongest words possible to highlight your accomplishment and focus the HR’s attention on your key selling point. Our resume services online will provide you with some helpful tips on which action words for cv to use, which to avoid, and how to use keywords in the right way.

Also in this section:

15 must-have words for your resume

  1. Achieved
    What hiring managers are looking for in your resume the first place? That’s right, your accomplishments, and the results of what you have done for a previous employer. The word ‘achieved’ coupled with a figure or a company’s goal you’ve managed to reach works best on your resume. It highlights your focus on the result, dedication and the willingness to do even more for a future employer. 
    Do you feel that your career lack achievements or unsure what falls under accomplishments at all? Hire our resume writing expert to make your career look better on paper. 
  2. Registered
    The word redesigned signals two major traits employers value: leadership and ability to transform company processes. It is particularly recommended to use on middle to top level management and engineering/IT resume (for more in-depth guidance on writing resume for information technology, continue reading here:  This word showcases your ability to see the big picture, and use the problem solving skills to improve processes and procedures and increase their efficiency.
  3. Launched
    If you were the one who stood behind the release of successful product from the concept phase, why do you need to be shy about it? And the second thing which shouldn’t be done is diminishing your contribution by using weak action verbs such as ‘was responsible for’. Use one of the power words for cv which are simple but highlight your personal contribution at a glance. Words like launched, optimized, organize work great for showing your responsibility.
    Are you ready to take personal responsibility for your future career? Learn the skills you will need to achieve professional success:
  4. Trained/mentored
    Most of strong action verbs are aimed at maximizing your personal competence and impact. Nevertheless, the ability to supervise and mentor others (either new team members or those from other departments) is valued highly by employers. It means that you are competent enough to share your expertise and communicative enough to be heard and understood. Moreover, it means that you’re willing to take responsibility for others and success of the team. But, more importantly, 47% of hiring managers surveyed stated they would like to see these verbs on candidate’s resume.
  5. Modernized
    Just like redesigned, this word is used to showcase your practical impact on the department or the entire company. It assures the hiring manager that you had the vision and leadership necessary to initiate the change, implement it and gain measurable result in form of higher revenue, new customers, new process or procedures, etc. As soon as you add this word to your resume, nobody will say it lacks accomplishments, as employees capable of conducting modernization are rare treasures.
    Your resume might need modernization, too. Check the latest trends to make sure your resume is up-to-date:
  6. Volunteered
    Volunteering is not considered a paid experience and is not included on your resume under the “Professional experience” section. Nevertheless, those with volunteering experience gain extra points in comparison to the applicants who didn’t have such experience. First and foremost, this is due to the fact that a paycheck isn’t your only motivator, and you have the inner drive to invest your time in challenging tasks. Moreover, volunteering and heavy community involvement is a sure sign of your credibility and responsibility, which are the qualities of a perfect employee.
    Don’t know how to reflect your volunteering experience on the resume? Reach out to our resume writers to help present this experience effectively.
  7. Orchestrated
    Orchestrated is a strong alternative to led and managed which are much overused on an average candidate’s resume. And, although it sounds less-than-typical for a business document, don’t be afraid to use it on your resume. A strong verb like this highlights your ability to concentrate the power over all aspects of management and direction in your hands and deliver desired results. Followed by a solid statement, i.e. Orchestrated an advertising campaign resulting in increased brand recognition and 20% revenue growth it can work wonders on your resume.
  8. Created/initiated
    Everyone can follow the plan designed by someone else; but how about developing your own ideas and course of action? The ability to transform a vague idea into reasonable strategic or tactical plan has gained respect of hiring managers. It requires analytical thinking, deep knowledge and the ability to predict the result of your actions. Moreover, if you’ve created something by yourself in the previous role, it’s a sure sign that you can apply for management roles.
    Finally decided to quit an old job? Here’s how to do it in the right way and preserve your good reputation:
  9. Communicated
    Strong communication skills, both oral and written, is one of the most popular requirements in the job ads. Therefore, you need to highlight your communication and collaboration experience regardless of your industry and career level. In addition to starting a bullet point with Communicated, you can also use Negotiated, actively listened, and provided constructive feedback – depending on what your responsibilities involved. Stressing your communication abilities in a resume also indicates your ability to function well as a part of the team and build relationships with clients and partners. If you want to learn more about habits and traits that differentiate successful people, see here:
  10. Revenue/profit/under budget
    This bunch of words to use on cv is used to show your financial impact. Needless to say that it’s figures that hiring managers notice in your resume first; so, if you’ve got the access to financial results of your activities, do make them your selling point.
    The major reason to mention the financial outcome, even if your job has nothing to do with finance, is demonstrating your business orientation. Highlighting revenue growth or cost reduction will help you look like an individual who is aimed at achieving tangible results and brings value to the company.
  11. Spearheaded
    Participation in a group project or activity should be reflected on your resume with the use of strong verbs as well. Often, applicants see the fact of participation as the excuse to shy away from their real contribution. The expert resume writers of our company insist that you avoid weak verbs like participated, helped, assisted, etc . Instead, choose the verbs which will highlight your active role and willingness to take leadership and be initiative. Spearheaded, initiated and facilitated are good examples.
  12. Improved
    Improved sounds like a softer alternative for redesigned and modernized. Yet, it is worth including on your resume. It sounds especially well with minor or non-technical accomplishments, when your initiative and effort helped something work better. Improved indicates your focus on making the difference to how things work rather than just do things within your scope of responsibilities. Along with trained, this word is also one of the top cv power words hiring managers expect to see on a successful candidate’s resume.
    Is it your resume that needs improvement? Check the expert tips on how to format your resume to improve its visual appearance and readability.
  13. Dedicated
    The candidate’s accomplishments, leadership abilities and willingness to improve and modernize processes matter a lot. Nevertheless, what also matters for hiring managers is your dedication to the company’s success and not only your focus on advancing your career. And, to achieve that, using dedicated or committed is highly recommended.
    Just like with all of the above good words for a cv, these two shouldn’t be isolated – i.e. statement committed to project success sounds fluffy if not supported by facts. However, if used right, these two good words to use in cv can transform the tone of voice of your resume and show your positive work attitude and dedication.
  14. Resolved
    Does the prospective job requires troubleshooting skills? If so, you can easily highlight them with this verb. Resolving customer complaints, workplace conflicts and technical issues of any kind takes initiative, soft skills and utmost knowledge of subject matter. Moreover, it screams your ability to work independently and troubleshoot as any issue arises, which is a rare quality valued by managers of any level. Looking like a ‘go-getter’ rather than ‘do-er’ adds you points in comparison with other candidates, so add resolved or troubleshot if you have the relevant experience.
  15. Won
    If you won an annual company award, an industry contest or your performance gained recognition in any other way, be sure to let the hiring managers know. Everyone likes hiring stars, especially for the roles that require customer cooperation, development or complex products or extensive contact with public. If you didn’t actually win the competition, awarded or nominated are worth mentioning in your resume as well. All good action verbs encourage you to add more detail, so it goes without saying that this word should be followed by the name of organization/contest and figures, if any.

The choice of vocabulary for your resume is incredibly important. Weak and short verbs minimize your accomplishments and contribution even if you have a solid, impressive background. However, simply staffing your resume with the above verbs is not enough. Be sure to use them wisely and support by facts from practice to make your resume shine. If you need more examples of strong action verbs, you can find them here: You’ll also benefit from the examples on how to use them in the right way.

Editor's choice:

Words to remove from your resume right now

Just like right and helpful resume action verbs, there are buzzwords that can spoil the first impression and make hiring managers perceive you negatively. To avoid it, check your resume for the words below and cut them off as they minimize your chance for an interview.

  • Responsible for/experienced working with
    Not only these statements are so overused that they lost their original meaning, but also they create a wrong image of you in the hiring manager’s eyes. The matter is all must-have resume words scream about your active participation and dedication to your job. On the contrary, responsible for portrays an uninspired employee who mechanically fulfilled job requirements. It shows lack of ambitions and interest to what you do. So, replace every passive word with an active verb.
  • Unemployed
    If you had period of unemployment, your resume does not need to specifically mention it. You’ve already included your employment dates, and the hiring manager will learn about the gaps from them. Nevertheless, feel free to include the unpaid or volunteering activities under other resume sections to make it clear before the interview. If you have no clue how to address your unemployment in a resume or cover letter effectively, ask for a professional resume help.
  • Microsoft Office/e-mail/PC skills
    On the one hand, these can count as hard skills and mean your computer literacy. On the other hand, they add absolutely no value to your resume. Your list of skills must demonstrate you as a competent professional, and should only contain skills which are a)critical for the role and b)are unique and little other applicants possess them. Moreover, mentioning MS Office as a specific competence makes you look like everyone else in 2018. It could be a selling point ten years ago; but now employers take it as a given.
  • Team player
    By putting this on the resume, people usually want to highlight their communication skills and the ability to succeed while functioning as a part of the team. However, by putting an overused team player on your resume, you look like dozens of other applicants who lacked skills to prove these abilities by giving specific examples.
  • Go-getter/hardworking
    What do these adjectives have in common? These all are subjective self-descriptions, i.e. you want to convince the hiring manager that you’re a rockstar candidate (another no-no for your resume). Instead, your task is not to convince them, but to provide relevant facts from your career history. Moreover, they lack meaning – they might think “Ok, you state you’re a hard worker, but what’s in it for the business?”
    However, if you write “Improved the customer service policy resulting in 25% sales growth”, this will be a pure example of your hard work and ability to ‘go and get’. As they say, instead of claiming that you’re result-oriented, show the results you have achieved. As for these buzzwords, remove them from your resume.
  • Thought leadership
    The world leadership is used here and there by candidates applying for both management and non-management roles. However, if you led a team, you need to specify how many people were under your supervision, both directly and indirectly.  The outcomes of your leadership are expected to be present on your resume, too. If you demonstrated leadership skills in resolving a problem or handling difficult situation, simply mention it using one of the strong verbs above.

To win an interview call, you need to use only the strong words that make your resume eye-catching. Therefore, if one of the above buzzword is still on your resume, be sure to remove them straightaway.

How to use strong resume words in the right way

As we’ve mentioned above, simply picking the words which appeal to you is not enough. Here’s how to use them to make your resume shine:

  • Start your bullet points with strong action verbs. When your job description starts with orchestrated or designed rather than led or was responsible for, it makes the difference for a reader in no time. Longer and high-impact words catch the reader’s attention, thus securing you more chances that your resume will be read.
    As you probably know, each bullet point should be no longer than 1-2 lines, with 5-6 bullets for each job you had. Read more about the do’s and don’ts of writing a modern resume.
  • Support your statements with numbers. This is the critical resume advice many job-seekers still ignore. Meanwhile, measured accomplishments are a powerful tool for selling your skills on resume. Numbers serve as a proof that you a)strived for positive outcome rather than just ‘did your job’ b)capable of making the difference in your area of expertise for the prospective employer c)are interested in job posting enough to have obtained the numbers. All of the above increase your value in the hiring manager’s eyes.
    Moreover, numbers add credibility to those must have resume words you use. Compare communicated bidding process improvements to management and communicated process improvements to management resulting in downtime reduction by 50%. The difference is pretty obvious, isn’t it?
    If you hesitate how to include figures in your resume, ask for help of our expert writer. We can help you improve your resume at an affordable charge.
  • Use easy-to-read formatting. Whether you like it or not, your resume in 2018 needs to be skimmable, i.e. easy to look through and navigate the necessary details. Even if it’s perfectly written and informative but formatted as one plain block of text, hiring manager is unlikely to read it as they’re too busy.
    Career experts recommend that you use bulleted lists, indents, and plenty of white space – no more than 300-400 words per page. Making your resume ‘light’ will make your professional advantages and strong verbs more visible. Think of your resume as a web page which needs to be eye-catching, and write the content accordingly.
  • Provide specific examples. Strong action verbs and statements such as result-driven, proactive, organized, etc. transform into buzzwords if not supported by specific examples. An overuse of loud statements starts irritating the hiring manager rather than motivate them to invite you for an interview. How to avoid this?
    For instance, instead of stating that you improved relationships with key customers, give an insight into specific situation and how you resolved it. Instead of screaming you’re a hard-working individual, show how your hard work and dedication helped the project or team succeed. Keep in mind that active words only drive the full effect if proven by concrete examples.
    If you don’t have many examples of accomplishments, maybe, you’re in the wrong place right now? Find out how to discover your true calling in life.
  • Make it focused. Must-have words help you strengthen your resume, but you also need to take care of the rest of the text. It’s no surprise that targeted resumes are the most effective ones; so you need to include the key information about yourself rather than share your entire work history. Before including something in your resume, ask yourself: “Does it help me sell my skills as the best candidate for the role? Will it help me get the job?” And, if the answer is no, cut it away.
    Resume length also contributes to its readability; learn more about which perfect resume length will work for you.

The words shape hiring manager’s perception of the candidate; however, by providing concise and relevant facts you’ll strengthen the first impression and generate their interest.

Master list of most powerful resume action words you can use right now

Earlier in this post, we have described the function of resume buzzwords and why they are important to get you shortlisted. For your convenience, we summarize the great resume power words to include in your document:

  • Achieved
  • Communicated
  • Created
  • Enabled
  • Enhanced
  • Facilitated
  • Guided
  • Improved
  • Initiated
  • Launched
  • Mentored
  • Modernized
  • Orchestrated
  • Profit
  • Promoted
  • Reinforced
  • Resolved
  • Revenue
  • Spearheaded
  • Streamlined
  • Supervised
  • Trained
  • Troubleshot
  • Under budget
  • Volunteered
  • Won

The difference between resume action words vs. keywords

When writing a resume on their own, job-seekers often confuse between action verbs (also referred to as strong resume words) and keywords. A career coach from our company is going to describe you the difference below.

Action words, or power verbs, are verbs used at the beginning of each bullet point. People use resume action words to describe one’s job duties in previous jobs, professional achievements, and in a resume summary. The purpose of these powerful resume words is to highlight your contribution and impact on the processes.

Say “Responsible for onboarding and training of new employees” sounds weaker than “Streamlined the onboarding of new employees by creating an employee handbook”, doesn’t it? Examples of the best resume action words are listed above by our career coaches.

Resume keywords don’t have the same function as resume power words. Their purpose is to get your resume through an applicant tracking system that is used in the hiring process. This software scans the resume for education, qualifications and specific skills that matter for a specific job description. The more keywords a resume has, the higher is your chance to get shortlisted for a dream job.

Resume keywords can be found in job postings, and most job-seekers copy them from there. The resume examples of keywords are: “Bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering”, “project management”, and “team player”. Both common resume buzzwords and keywords can be used in a cover letter in addition to a resume.

Do you really need to add good resume words?

Of course, no employer will criticize you for the word choice or the absence of powerful words. But if you use resume verbs effectively, this creates you an image of a go-to person and a result-oriented individual. And vice versa, if your resume is packed with weak buzz words like hard worker, organized, self-starter and thought leader, this can turn off the recruiter just because these words are widely overused. In our career blog, we always say that no details should be overlooked when it comes to the success of your resume!

Struggling with resume writing?

By adding strong words as suggested above, you can significantly improve your resume format. But making your resume stand out is truly a complicated thing. At, we compose resumes, cover letters and other career documents for professionals. Your writer will take care of the word choice, achievements, keywords, and design of your documents, and align them with target job descriptions.

Customer satisfaction is not just words for us. We offer 2 weeks of free unlimited revisions in case you want the final document improved. You can communicate with the writer directly and share your professional goals with them. Moreover, our team is online on chat 24/7 in case you have any questions.


How to improve the quality of your resume? The answer is simple: replace the weak, ineffective buzzwords with must-have resume words which highlight your contribution and professional value. If you need a truly stellar resume, hire a resume writer and he will do the entire job for you. You also need to pay attention to free cover letter examples as most of the employers expect to receive a cover letter as well. You can use the above strong resume words to make your cover letter eye-catching as well.

Do you use must-have words to strengthen your resume?

Popular Posts:

Our experienced writers can create a powerful resume suitable for each position. However, you may also request a specific resume depending on the job you are applying for, thus it will be tailored individually for your profession:

Sales, Accounting, Fashion, Marketing, Nursing, Pharmacist, Physician, Finance, Medical, Product Management, Military, Teacher, Healthcare, Executive, Technical, Engineer, Scientific, Military To Civilian, Pilot, Hospitality, Attorney, Banking, Project Manager, Lawyer, Career Management, Software Engineer, HR, Aviation, Construction, Legal, Science, IT, SES and ECO