Resume Buzzwords: What Are They, and Are They Right for Me?

Resume Buzzwords: What Are They, and Are They Right for Me?

When you’re writing your resume, it can be tempting to follow resume templates or plug in commonly used blanket phrases about your job duties. In most cases, this isn’t a bad thing—you don’t have to reinvent the wheel in order to get a job. However, there are times when buzzwords—especially used in zealous overabundance—just make an employer cringe.

What are buzzwords?

Buzzwords are (generally speaking) meaningless, fluffy terms that usually don’t relate back to a specific industry, job title, or duty. They tend to provide an over-inflated perspective on what it is you’ve actually done. Examples might include the words: synergy, go-getter, or team player.

Why do job seekers continue to use them? Because they’re flashy! They are attractive and make your resume sound slightly more sophisticated. On the flip side, overuse of these words can cause your resume to sound generic and send it straight into the garbage can.

Nevertheless, there are times when using an intelligently placed buzzword can enhance your resume. Consider using buzzwords if your specific resume example meets one of the following criteria.

1. If the word is related to a specific industry

If you’re positioning yourself to enter into the IT field, it’s probably going to be tough to convey your experience without using some key technical jargon. If you’re a teacher, and your resume doesn’t contain language such as “differentiation” or “classroom management,” again—it doesn’t matter how cliché a phrase might be. You’re going to need it, or you aren’t even going to get an interview.  If you can’t convey the duties of your job without throwing in a few buzzwords, use them.

2. If the buzzword can be backed up

Don’t stress about using a buzzword if you can genuinely prove that you are “results-driven.” For this tip, you can’t simply rely on the hiring manager to assume you get results every time. Make sure you list exactly how you are driven by results, what those results are, and how you achieve them. The more details you can illuminate with specific dates, facts, and figures, the better.

3. If you have other more focused, “you”-centered information

The most important part of your resume is that it can’t sound canned. If your resume doesn’t stand out, then you won’t be given the opportunity to shine in an interview, either. By haphazardly tossing in buzzwords every other sentence or bullet point, you’re going to sound like every other applicant out there. Instead, use buzzwords sparingly, and only when you absolutely can’t continue without them.

Get Your Resume to the Top of the Pile

Writing your first—or even fiftieth!—resume can be a daunting task, whether you choose to use buzzwords or not. Don’t rely on memory, assumptions or hearsay to create your ticket to a better career. Instead, read our other tips and tricks and try our resume creator to get your resume to the very top of the pile.