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Words To Use In A Resume

The words you choose to include in your resume are critically important. A recruiter, hiring manager, or employer will skim your resume to see if you have the ‘right’ words. Furthermore, resume scanning software is often deployed to automatically scan incoming resumes and archive those that do not have the ‘right’ words.

But, what are the ‘right’ words?

The words recruiters and software search for depend on the job and company. You might need a specific skill, qualification, or personal attribute. Failure to include them dramatically reduces your chances of getting an interview. You can uncover words crucial to the employer in the job advert, job description, careers page, and value or mission statements.

In addition to the words you find in the job description and company website, there are good words that convey professionalism, wisdom, confidence, and proficiency.

Here we share the good words to put in your resume, split into those that describe soft and hard (technical) skills. We also provide a word use example to help you get started.

Soft skill words to use in your resume

These soft skill words are beneficial in resumes and if they are in the job description, you should prioritize them in your resume:


I overcome problems with creative solutions that result in…


I am flexible in my approach, able to work in a team or alone.


I have experience analyzing customer feedback, identifying…


In January I was able to achieve 125% of my sales target.


I am motivated to help clients identify the best products and solutions.


I like to help co-workers learn new skills in…


I like to actively participate in team projects by…


I am reliable and ensure I am ready before my shift begins.


I am an energetic person and motivate those around me into…


I utilize my organizational skills to manage and prioritize tasks.


My commercial awareness helps me converse with business clients and build…


My co-workers describe me as an inspirational mentor who has helped them…


I am passionate about saving the company money by reducing expenditures.


My versatile approach to resolving complaints has…


I am proud of the consistent results I have achieved throughout…


I mentor new employees by passing on advice about…


I am extremely personable and enjoy working with…


I enthuse colleagues by sharing my experience in…


I am honest and trustworthy, accurately completing daily bank remittances …


I can articulate complex data and relay this to non-technical individuals…

Hard skill words to use in your resume

Your professional skills will also be under scrutiny and employers look for these words: 

Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is a word processor you might have used to write your resume, a business proposal, or a letter.

Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel is database software used by most companies.

Microsoft PowerPoint

Microsoft PowerPoint is presentation software used in training sessions, meetings, and pitches.

Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office is a software suite comprising Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, and other software.


You can demonstrate teamwork on your resume by mentioning collaborating with other workers, departments, groups, or fellow students (if you are a recent graduate).

Problem Solving

You can describe a challenge you overcame to quantify your problem-solving skills.

Customer Service

Customer service is usually a communicative or empathetic skill.

Time Management

You can discuss task prioritization and deadlines to show your time management skills.

Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook is the email client of the Windows operating system.

Communication Skills

Relay not just your communication skills but the result of using them.

Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills are essential in roles where you do not work alone.

Organizational Skills

Organizational skills cover prioritization, multitasking, filing, productivity.


To show your sales talent on your resume, mention cross-selling, sales targets, and effective questioning.

Project Management

If you have led a team or project, mention the outcome or what you learned.

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a proficiency for creative jobs such as photographer, web developer, designer, or illustrator.

Microsoft Access

A lesser known part of Microsoft Office, Access is used for making and sharing apps without developer-level expertise.

Negotiation Skills

Describe your negotiation skills through a time when you achieved a better than expected outcome.

Words not to use in your resume

Not all words are good or well-perceived and a negative association to these words means they are best left out of your resume:

  • Authoritative: Sound too dominating
  • Seasoned: Suggests you are at the end of your career
  • Passionate: Used too often and has lost its impact
  • Detail-oriented: Will put you in hot water if you resume has a typo
  • Results-driven: Sound cold and self-centered
  • Track Record: Your resume should convey this, so it adds little value
  • Team-player: Overused, so talk about collaboration instead
  • Hard-worker: Let the evidence, results, and examples in your resume convey this for you

Resume templates

Looking for examples of career-related resume words? View our templates below: