January 2014

Get a Job

Mauri Schwartz

Q: LinkedIn recently announced its 2013 list of the 10 most overused words in member profiles. One of them is “responsible.” Why isn’t this a good word to use? What are good words to use in a resume or profile instead, and what are good words to use to make a resume stand out?

 

A: LinkedIn is correct to advise against using the word “responsible” as in “Responsible for conducting surveys, updating spreadsheets, and producing reports.” First, it’s unclear as to whether or not you actually performed these tasks or if you managed one or more employees who did. If you did perform them, then you should just say so, and use the opportunity to describe your actions and their results. Your resume shouldn’t be just a list of job duties.


> Conducted surveys of all new employees, approximately 500, for the first quarter of 2013, completing this task in half the usual time by implementing an online survey application.

> Input respondent data into spreadsheet offering an immediate comparison with surveys from Q1 2012.

> Formatted, printed and compiled survey details and summary data into executive reports and delivered to senior management.


If, on the other hand, you managed a team of one or more people who performed these duties, you could describe it this way:


> Managed execution and reporting of quarterly survey of new employees, averaging 500/quarter.


> Obtained vice president’s approval to implement SurveyMonkey as our first web-based survey solution, completing the entire survey process in half the usual time.


You’ll want to use vocabulary that presents your achievements in the best light, indicating things that you accomplished that someone else in your position may not have been able to do. Describe the results of your actions as compared to previous results or compared to other companies in your industry, but only if the comparisons are positive for you. Include situations when you introduced a process that improved the way work was getting done.

Here are a few of the many words that will give your resume a facelift. Don’t overuse them, and/or use those which are not applicable.



Achieved

Administered

Built

Conceived

Convinced

Designed

Devised

Directed

Drove

Exceeded

Expedited

Facilitated

Founded

Improved

Increased

Initiated

Introduced

Invented

Launched

Led

Managed

Negotiated

Originated

Overcame

Overhauled

Oversaw

Persuaded

Pioneered

Reduced (losses)

Resolved

Revitalized

Spearheaded

Strengthened

Transformed

Upgraded

 


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