280+ Resume Buzzwords to Use and Clichés to Avoid in 2023
Not sure what’s the difference between resume clichés and buzzwords that actually work? You’re not alone. Read this article and see which resume buzzwords matter in 2023.
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You’ve just finished writing your resume. Still, it sounds meh, despite using a whole lotta smart words like responsible and creative. It’s a formal document, but does it have to be that boring? Of course not!
You can easily spice up your resume with relevant resume buzzwords. But the thing is—some of those are clichés that must be avoided at all costs. How do you know the difference? Continue reading and learn all the secrets of buzzwords for resumes.
This guide will show you:
- 280+ resume buzzwords ready to add to your job application.
- Reasons why using resume buzzwords can help you succeed.
- The difference between resume clichés and buzzwords.
- How to use buzzwords in a resume.
Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click. See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here.
Sample resume made with our builder—See more resume examples here.
Want to learn other tips for writing a resume? Check these articles:
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- What's a Targeted Resume? Example + Instructions
What Are Resume Buzzwords?
Resume buzzwords are terms used in a resume to get the employer’s attention. They often contain resume keywords, action verbs, and power words to demonstrate candidates' qualifications and skills. Their use can help candidates highlight achievements related to their work.
So as you’ve just read, buzzwords aren’t related to bees. In fact, a “buzzword” was used for the first time in 1946 to describe various terms used by Harvard business students. Buzzwords became widely used in business speak in the 1970s.
Some examples of resume buzzwords include verbs such as consolidated, established, and implemented and adjectives such as customer-oriented, passionate, and innovative.
Pssst… Action words in a resume can electrify recruiters, too. Read more: How to Add Action Words to Your Resume
Why Should You Add Resume Buzzwords to Your Resume?
Imagine 100 resumes that say “...responsible for managing projects” and one that says “coordinated projects successfully from start to finish.” Which one stands out? Exactly. And why? Because it uses a fancy buzzword for a resume.
To put it simply, resume buzzwords can replace some overused wording and help attract hiring managers like honey.
Check the examples below to see the difference between a resume summary with and without resume buzzwords:
Resume Buzzwords Examples in a Resume Summary
Tech-savvy certified project manager with 2+ years of professional experience. Knowledgeable about Agile project management and project tracking tools, including Asana and JIRA. Keen to assist Tulip Designs’ creative teams in facilitating communication between the stakeholders and designers as well as developing a realistic project plan. Enhanced team productivity by 46% using cost-effective motivation methods in 2021.
Tech-savvy. Facilitate. Develop. Enhanced. You must admit they sound pretty impressive. This resume summary can shine among dozens of candidate profiles.
Professional project manager with 2+ years of experience. Used Agile project management methods to manage various teams. Helped to boost team productivity in 2021 by 46%. Hoping to support Tulip Designs’ creative teams to lead projects to successful completion.
Yaaawn… See the difference? Without relevant resume buzzwords, even a great job candidate can appear uninteresting.
Using buzzwords can easily make your job application sound more exciting, but it isn’t child’s play. You must know how to use them right—otherwise, you might end up following clichés instead.
Once your resume is ready, you need to deliver it effectively. Learn: How to Email a Resume to an Employer
What’s the Difference Between Resume Clichés and Buzzwords?
The line between resume clichés and buzzwords is as subtle as the one between praise and flattery. Every year, some business terms become so popular in every workplace that people quickly get sick and tired of them. And using those in your resume won’t work to your advantage.
Let’s say you’re a graphic designer who often comes up with original ideas and enjoys working with others. How will you introduce yourself?
“I’m a creative go-getter who thinks outside the box and is a team player.”
While all of this might be true, it’s just full of overused words and phrases. It’s a cliché, just like office romances. You must remember that business-speak changes with the times. Maybe it was fine to say that you thrived in a dynamic work environment ten years ago, but now it sounds like you’re a boomer.
Check the list of resume clichés and buzzwords that got blacklisted below:
Outdated Resume Buzzwords and Clichés to Avoid in 2023
- Hard worker: don’t say you work hard—prove it with examples of your work.
- Creative: present examples of your original ideas instead of using that word.
- Responsible for: being responsible for something doesn’t mean being good at doing it.
- Go-getter: it’s an empty word. Instead of praising yourself, show what you did to succeed.
- Proven track record: if it’s proven, show it off!
- Team player: pretty much all jobs need people to work with others, so it’s just stating the obvious.
- Works well under pressure: it’s an empty claim that hundreds of other candidates will also say.
- Quick learner: you can give examples of things you mastered quickly instead of saying this.
- Out-of-the-box thinker: unless you’re Elon Musk, saying this is just bragging.
- People person: everyone calls themselves a people person—putting it on a resume is a waste of space.
- Bottom-line focused: instead of using this overused phrase, give examples of goals you achieved.
- Problem solver: don’t brag—give examples of problems you solved instead.
- Strong work ethic: it’s for your employers to judge, and it’s also a thing that anyone would say.
- Seasoned professional: another empty term that just takes up space on a resume.
- Perfectionist: literally everyone says that about themselves on resumes.
- Functioned as: that’s a very passive term, which sounds like you were forced to do something.
- Best-in-class: it’s not just a resume cliché but also a business cliché that should be avoided at all costs.
Now that you know the most hated cliché words, check your own resume to make sure you haven’t used any of those!
Finished writing your resume? How about putting it to the test? See here: Resume Review Checklist
How to Use Buzzwords for Resumes?
Now that you know what resume buzzwords are, it’s time to add them to your job application. Of course, you can’t just stuff them randomly all over the place, like toppings on a pizza. First, you must choose the right buzzwords. Then, you must include them in the right resume sections.
How to choose the best buzzwords for a resume:
- Read the job advertisement and mimic the keywords used in it.
- Learn about the company values and use words that reflect them.
- Go for industry-related keywords.
- Pick buzzwords that describe your skills.
This little recipe will help you to select the right words to add to your resume. It’s best to put them on a long list and keep them at hand while describing your work experience, achievements, and your abilities.
Here’s how to add buzzwords to a resume:
- Use buzzwords as adjectives to describe yourself in the resume summary or career objective.
- Highlight actions you’ve taken in the work experience section using buzzwords in verb forms.
- Add resume buzzwords to the education section when describing your academic accomplishments.
- Sprinkle buzzwords over the skill section to highlight your abilities.
- Add resume buzzwords to the extra information on your resume to show your best angles.
Check the examples below for inspiration—all buzzwords are highlighted in yellow:
Buzzwords for Resumes: Example Work Experience Section
Luma Garden Solutions, Beaumont, TX
Assistant Project Manager
Help4Business, Beaumont, TX
May 2020–December 2020
See? This person knows how to set goals, achieve them, and develop original solutions to pressing problems.
Let’s check another example:
Resume Buzzwords in the Education Section
Bachelor of Business Administration
Lamar University, Beaumont, TX
September 2016–April 2020
Relevant coursework: Critical Thinking for Business Decision-Making, Strategic Analysis, Project Management
Instead of saying, “I’m a hard-working student,” this person presented examples of their hard work. Impressive, isn’t it? Other resume sections can be hyped the same way. For example, if you put your hobbies on a resume, describe what you do in your free time with a few buzzwords.
Resume Buzzwords in Additional Resume Sections—Examples
Now, it’s time to check our long list of the best resume buzzwords and pick a few for your own resume!
You research companies before applying. But they also research you. Make sure they don’t find anything cringy. See more: How to Manage Your Online Presence
When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building a professional resume template here for free.
When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.
Best Resume Buzzwords
Yasss. It’s time to add a bunch of fancy words to your resume. Behold, over 200 resume buzzwords to browse and choose from. We put them in categories, so they’re easier to go through!
First, let’s have a look at adjectives you can use to describe your personality or the nature of your work:
Resume Buzzwords: Adjectives
If you use such adjectives to describe yourself, remember to add some specific information as proof. For example, if you call yourself results-oriented, mention goals you achieved at previous workplaces.
Want to highlight your brilliant ideas? Check these resume buzzwords:
Resume Buzzwords for Expressing Originality & Creativity
Instead of saying you’re a gifted thinker, explain how your ideas contributed to the success of your employer. That’s much more impressive than empty claims.
Got a few accomplishments up your sleeve? Use the words below to describe them:
Resume Buzzwords for Describing Achievements
Be careful with these buzzwords, though. If you stuff your resume with too many, you’ll sound like an overachiever, which isn’t always good.
Are you good at managing other people? Pick a few from the resume buzzwords below to talk about it:
Resume Buzzwords for Management
I guess the best managers do all of the above and do it enthusiastically.
Are you a natural problem-solver? Here are words that can help you prove it:
Resume Buzzwords for Problem-Solving
Of course, remember to add specific examples of issues you’ve overcome at work. It’s best to include numbers or percentages to show the significance of the problem.
Do you enjoy working with your colleagues? Then describe your teamwork experience with the words below:
Resume Buzzwords for Teamwork
See? That’s how you prove you’re a people person!
Modern workplaces require effective communication skills. Pick a few buzzwords that refer to these:
Resume Buzzwords for Communication
Remember to communicate your achievements and qualifications clearly in your resume!
Below is the last collection of resume buzzwords—these describe various responsibilities of modern workplaces:
Resume Buzzwords for Responsibilities
Phew, that was long.
Now you’re armed with over 200 buzzwords for a resume. Which ones will you choose to highlight your relevant experience?
You’ve heard that a resume must be tailored to the job, but do you know how to do it? Check here: Matching a Resume to a Job Description
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:
See more cover letter templates and start writing.
Is your head buzzing with information now? This handy summary will remind you how to use resume buzzwords in your job application:
- Scan the job advertisement and the company website and use buzzwords that reflect the important keywords.
- Replace cliché phrases in your resume with appropriate buzzwords that catch the hiring manager’s attention.
- Use buzzwords to describe your work experience and relevant achievements.
- Describe your personality using buzzwords for a resume in an adjective form.
- Include resume buzzwords when in additional resume sections, such as volunteering or interests.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. Now, I’d love to hear from you:
- Do you use buzzwords when writing your resume?
- Are there any business buzzwords that you hate?
- Do you find it easy to add resume buzzwords to a job application?
Let me know in the comments below!