Back to ALl posts

The Top 30 Resume Buzzwords to Avoid From Over 100,000 Applications

Author —
Astley
May 1, 2021

There are many cliches on a resume.

The right resume buzzwords will leave a good impression on your recruiters. However, the wrong buzzwords will have the opposite effect. 

After analyzing 102,944 resumes, we’ve unveiled the top 30 overused resume buzzwords to avoid. 

It’s also just as important to consider how you should tie everything together.

Just because you’ve browsed a list of popular power words, it doesn’t always mean they’re the best to use. Similarly, if you’ve found a list of powerful buzzwords but you don’t know how to use them properly, then they won’t have the same impact that you might’ve been hoping for.

We’ll also be covering:

  • What are buzzwords or keywords in a resume?
  • How you shouldn’t be using resume buzzwords
  • What resume buzzwords you should use instead

You might have heard of the saying, “a worker is only as good as their tools”.

There’s a lot of truth behind it that’s applicable in the modern workforce. For instance, buzzwords are a tool that’s used to empower your resume. As long as they’re implemented the right way, it’s almost certain that it will impart your hiring managers with a good impression.



“I had the perfect experience for the position I was applying for but I didn’t know how to translate it into a hirable resume… Rezi was so intuitive and answered all my questions” - Khurram Qazi, Managing Director, OWLR

What Are Resume Buzzwords?

There are three main types of words you should be aware of in resume writing:

  • Buzzwords
  • ATS Keywords
  • Action verbs

Resume buzzwords are also referred to as power words, which are triggers used to highlight an action, skill, responsibility or achievement.

ATS keywords are words that are set requirements your resume needs to beat the applicant tracking system. Without including them, you won’t make it past the first stage of the hiring process. 

Resume action verbs are used to indicate an action which implies your skills, expertise and capabilities. 

The hiring managers are looking for certain things in applicants in every resume they review. From those types of words we’ve defined, resume buzzwords are one effective strategy to level up your resume.

The Top 30 Overused Resume Buzzwords to Avoid 

The Top 30 Overused Resume Buzzwords to Avoid 
The Top 30 Overused Resume Buzzwords to Avoid 

After analyzing 102,944 resumes, we’ve found that the most overused buzzwords are:

  • Responsible
  • Responsible for

The main problem with these words is one, the fact they’ve been overused. And two, the fact that they’re fillers. As recruiters are used to seeing these overused resume buzzwords, it can be a put off and lead to the conclusion you’re not so different from the other applicants. 

What Resume Buzzwords Should You Use Instead?

You know what resume buzzwords to avoid. What about the ones you should use?

We’ve made an alternative resume buzzwords list you can use instead. Just make sure that it makes sense and fits in with the context of what you’re trying to say.

Here’s our list that we recommend you to use for your own applications:

  • Adept
  • Achieved
  • Accomplish
  • Ambitious
  • Analytical
  • Broadcast
  • Seasoned
  • Well-versed
  • Complete
  • Inventive
  • Enact
  • Proficient
  • Collaborate
  • Comprehensive
  • Cultivated
  • Leveraged
  • Improved
  • Generated
  • Orchestrated
  • Command
  • Influence
  • Impact
  • Itemize
  • Effect
  • Productive
  • Undivided
  • Honed
  • Sophisticated
  • Listen
  • Crafted
  • Comply
  • Formulate
  • Management
  • Outperform
  • Guidance

Here’s How You Shouldn’t Be Using Resume Buzzwords...

Your word choices and syntax are important. 

The way you phrase, put things together and structure your resume format can make a huge difference in the impact you impart on your recruiters.

Aside from implementing those three key types of words we’ve established, there are also things you should avoid. When it comes to using buzzwords or power words in particular, there are four main things you shouldn’t do.

1. Don’t Keep Rinsing Out The Same Words 

With limiting use of vocabulary since you’re lacking a diversity of words, it gets awfully tedious for your employer. 

As you rinse out the same words and adjectives, it’s not surprising if they don’t focus on paying attention to your resume. It’s difficult to stay engaged when you’re heavily repetitive and constantly repeating the same words.

Keep in mind that there are other job seekers and applicants you’re competing against.

You can’t stand out by being generic. It’s challenging to leave a lasting impression of yourself if you’re not using a variety of words to keep your prospective employers locked in with your ATS resume.

2. Forgetting to Include Examples After Making a Statement About Yourself

Whenever you’re making a statement about yourself, it’s good practice to include examples. Not only is it being courteous, but it prevents portraying yourself as a cocky individual.

If you don’t want to come off as conceited, it’s always best to use an example.

Anyone can say whatever they want to say. However, not everyone can prove it by showing evidence to support their claims.

Whatever statement you want to make about an achievement you want to talk about, or when you want to highlight the fact that you’re more skilled at something than most candidates, you need to back it up with an example.

To avoid yourself from sounding egotistical, (which can be a consequence of not using buzzwords properly), you should provide proof to show that what you’re saying is true. This also removes any assumptions of bias since you’re talking from a logical point of view.

3. Don’t Use Self-Explanatory Words or Phrases That Show No Real Value 

This is also a common cover letter mistake job seekers tend to make. 

As usual, you need to avoid using general terms that don’t show much value or are self-explanatory. 

For instance, don’t emphasize the fact that you’re an amazing team-player for a role where it’s mandatory to have those skills and attributes anyway.

If you’re stating something that’s painfully obvious, it can make you look less adequate and competent because you’re sticking to the basics of what’s already crystal clear. It’s virtually the same as adding fluff as it doesn’t offer anything new or valuable.

4. Don’t Include Resume Buzzwords When It’s Not Necessary 

Again, if you’re adding in buzzwords unnecessarily and over optimizing, you’re only adding fluff and it’s going to backfire.

To prevent this from happening, try to consider the lens of a minimalist and only use what’s needed. 

Anything else that’s irrelevant or unimportant, leave it out of your resume. You should be making the most out of the space you have anyway to improve the readability and format of your application.

Ask yourself, do you really need to include this word or sentence?

When there’s nothing much shown about you or your repeating the same thing, then there’s no value in including them. While you’re determined to force things in for the sake of content, it’s doing more harm on the employers because you’re depleting their attention span on things that aren’t as value-driven.

A one-page resume that’s concise and straight to the point is much better than a two-page resume with a lot of unnecessary words or sentences.

5. Don’t Overexaggerate What You’re Really Trying to Say

This is another mistake applicants make.

Don’t get me wrong - it’s good to show off your skills and work experience. Out of everything, you should be flexing the difference you’ve made in a previous role you’ve worked as. E.g. going into detail and describing the positive results or success that you’ve been responsible for. 

And buzzwords can really help with emphasizing your level of ability.

On the flip side, things can take a turn for the worse if you start overexaggerating and making your statements too dramatic. 

We’ve already made it clear that you should be using examples or case studies…

But even so, there’s always a limit and a line you shouldn’t cross. Just because you do have an example to talk about, you don’t want to mislead your hiring managers by overdramatizing it. 

Moreover, you don’t want to come off as an arrogant applicant.

ATS Resumes With Rezi

It’s no good to overdose your resume with buzzwords that the hiring managers are used to seeing day in and day out. 

If anything, it won’t make you stand out. 

Because they’re so generic, it’s a fast track to making your employers bored and creating the assumption that you don’t have anything unique to offer since you’re just like everyone else. 

If you’re still unsure with what to put on your resume, give Rezi a go. We have a feature that creates a complete, tailored application for you using the job description, which means you get to skip struggling with writer’s block completely.

Our resume builder is designed to beat the resume scanners and speed up your job hunting process.

More than 120,000 job seekers have used Rezi to land a new career, including at the top companies such as Facebook, Spotify and Amazon.

Start building your resume now for free by clicking below!


This article's author, Astley, is an avid content marketer who specializes as an SaaS copywriter. Learn more at Minimalist Copy


Related Articles

Go to blog

How to Write a Good Resume: The Beginner's Guide to Resume Writing

Knowing how to write a resume will help you advance and progress further in your career. 

July 13, 2021

How to Make a Powerful Resume Work Experience (Including Examples)

Anyone can write about their work experience. But what does it take to make it better?

January 13, 2021