150 Resume Buzzwords to Use and Clichés to Avoid in 2024

Marsha Hebert, professional resume writer
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So, you’ve spent weeks refining your resume to make sure that it dazzles any hiring manager who sees it. You’ve polished every tidbit of information and filled it with business words and phrases that should help to demonstrate that you’re the perfect job candidate. 

However, if you’re loading up your resume with tired, worn-out resume buzzwords, all your hard work may be in vain. To avoid that pitfall, here are 150 resume buzzwords to use and clichés to avoid that will help get your resume to the top of the hiring stack. 

Let’s start with resume buzzwords you should be using

Of course, you know that your resume has to contain language that adds value to your candidacy as a job seeker. Words that will set you apart from the competition and make a hiring manager think, “Wow, I really need to talk to this person!” 

Make your resume actionable

The first step is creating a resume narrative that centers around action and accomplishments. You aren’t a doer, you are an achiever!

While we have a separate article, 101 Power Verbs For Your Resume, here are a few that you should consider using:

  • Achieved

  • Improved

  • Managed

  • Implemented

  • Led

  • Resolved

  • Created

  • Streamlined

  • Consolidated

  • Accomplished

  • Maximized

  • Won

  • Succeeded

  • Maintained

Not only do these 14 action words convey a sense of accomplishment, but they also speak to your ability as a leader. 


As you can see “Leader” is in the clichéd phases to avoid, so how do you indicate leadership without using the word “leader?” Use these 27 buzzwords instead to show how you led: 

  • Innovated

  • Spearheaded

  • Orchestrated

  • Influenced

  • Pioneered

  • Championed

  • Mentored

  • Fostered 

  • Architected

  • Established

  • Executed

  • Produced

  • Strengthened

  • Supervised

  • Transformed

  • Upheld

  • Validated

  • Amplified

  • Inspired

  • Governed

  • Headed

  • Motivated

  • Promoted

  • Reinvented

  • Unveiled

  • Accelerated

  • Coached

Strategy and planning

You can take your resume a step further by talking about how well you perform when it’s time to be strategic and make plans. Here are 18 resume buzzwords you can use to begin a sentence or bullet point on your resume:

  • Strategized

  • Conceptualized

  • Structured

  • Formulated

  • Engineered

  • Devised

  • Revamped

  • Guided

  • Directed

  • Navigated

  • Analyzed

  • Ascertained

  • Determined

  • Negotiated

  • Researched

  • Designed

  • Conceived

  • Recommended

Teamwork and collaboration

You’ll notice among the 15 clichés to avoid is the phrase “team player.” It’s because anyone can say they’re a team player, but that doesn’t mean you have the soft skills to actually get along with others and collaborate in a way that adds value to the team and company. You should use these 17 resume buzzwords to show prospective employers how you communicate and work well with others:

  • Collaborated

  • Contributed

  • Coordinated

  • Facilitated

  • Participated

  • Demonstrated

  • Delivered

  • Communicated

  • Partnered

  • Unified

  • Played a pivotal role

  • Harmonized

  • Encouraged diverse perspectives

  • Integrated

  • Joined

  • Blended


Instead of saying that you have great communication skills or are a good listener, you have to show them. As you can see in the clichés to avoid section below, telling and doing are two different things. So, to prove it to them, use these 9 resume buzzwords:

  • Authored

  • Presented

  • Articulated

  • Conveyed

  • Addressed

  • Engaged

  • Persuaded 

  • Clarified

  • Interacted

Development and growth

Companies value staff members who aren’t afraid to take the time to learn new skills, after all, if there’s one thing that's constant in life and work it’s that things change. You have to keep up with those changes. 

Plus, using these 30 resume buzzwords allows you to expand on the knowledge you acquired during education, injecting keywords into parts of your resume other than your professional experience section. 

  • Lifelong learner

  • Continuous improvement

  • Self-development

  • Skill enhancement

  • Adaptive

  • Growth-oriented

  • Evolving expertise

  • Training and certifications

  • Personal development

  • Future-focused

  • Stay current

  • Learning agility

  • Industry trends

  • Professional growth

  • Skill expansion

  • Keeping abreast of developments

  • Enthusiastic learner

  • Up-to-date knowledge

  • Eager to learn and adapt

  • Pursuing professional development

  • Open to new challenges

  • Invested in learning

  • Embracing change

  • Pursuing continuous education

  • Staying updated with best practices

  • Skill refinement

  • Committed to personal growth

  • Acquiring new competencies

  • Future-proofing skills

  • Emerging trends

15 clichés that should NOT appear on your resume

There may be some overlap between clichés to avoid and buzzwords to use, but most of it depends on how you write the text of your resume. If you are simply saying that you’re creative, for example, without providing any context as to how you are creative, then you’ve ventured into a cliché not to use, rather than a buzzword to use. Let’s take a look at clichés to avoid.

#1: Creative

This is probably one of the biggest turn-offs that hiring managers see. You put together a resume that looks like a million others, and then describe yourself as “creative.” That’s probably not going to escape any hiring manager’s notice. Besides, anyone can claim to be creative. You need to demonstrate your creativity by describing times when you created solutions that solved real-world problems.

#2: Detail-oriented

Again, any hiring manager worth his salt is going to notice that your claimed attention to detail didn’t help you avoid this cliche. Rather than simply describing yourself as detail-oriented, you should highlight examples that show that you have this trait.

#3: Team player

Every company wants to hire people who excel at being part of a team. Most employees know this by now, which is probably why so many applicants insist on including some variation of “plays well with others” on their resumes. Hiring managers expect applicants to make this claim, so you’d be better served by simply noting different instances in which you displayed teamwork.

#4: Hard-working

This one is a real pet peeve for many hiring personnel: “hard-working.” It’s more than a cliche; it’s an outright waste of words. Your commitment to working hard will be demonstrated by your actual work history. If it’s true, you won’t need to say it. Your accomplishments will speak for themselves.

#5: Motivated

Motivation is another trait that needs to be demonstrated with real action. If you’re truly motivated, it will shine through in your interactions with the hiring manager and the company. It will be self-evident in the accomplishments that you list in your resume. Don’t claim it; be it.

#6: Results-driven

We’ve talked to hiring managers whose eyes roll back into their heads at the mere mention of the phrase “results-driven.” Yes, they assume that employees are results-driven since everyone does his or her job with a certain result in mind. Retire this phrase, please.

#7: Great communicator

Here’s a tip: if you need to tell someone that you’re a great communicator, then you probably aren’t. Great communication speaks for itself, whether in written or verbal form. Take the opportunity to document instances where your communication skills benefited prior employers.

#8: Expert

Think about this one. Are you really an expert? Being competent in your job and confident in your skill set doesn’t necessarily make you an expert. After all, if you were, then chances are that the hiring manager or someone in his company would have already heard of you – right?

#9: Think outside-the-box

This is another one of those meaningless cliches that we can’t seem to get rid of. Someone who thinks “outside the box” would be creative enough to come up with a better way to describe their unique thought process.

#10: Innovative

Yes, everyone wants to be innovative. Companies want innovation, and they want it badly. They also know that nearly every applicant claims to be innovative – but few are. If you’ve been innovative in the past, describe those innovations rather than simply laying claim to that talent.

#11: Responsible for...

If you tend to write, “Responsible for...” when describing your core responsibilities at previous jobs, just stop. That’s a vague way to describe what you did. Instead, use power verbs on your resume, such as “supervised” or “managed” to describe what you did in greater detail.

#12:  Best in class

Businesses like to toss this claim around, and some job applicants have taken to using it in recent years. Are you truly the best in class, though? If pressed, could you even explain exactly what that means? Skip it altogether and just focus on your real skills and achievements.

#13: Strategic thinker

If you are a strategic thinker, then you probably don’t need to declare yourself as such. Just focus on filling your resume with examples of how your strategic insight benefited former employers. Use numbers to quantify those benefits, if you can.

14: Leader

The “L” word gets tossed around a lot too – and with good reason. Companies want to hire people with leadership potential. The problem is that they know that you know that. As a result, they’re not likely to just take your word for it when you claim that you’re a leader. They want to see evidence of that claim.

#15: Focused on synergy

Whether you claim to be focused on synergy, dedicated to synergy, or an expert at achieving synergy, our advice is simple: just don’t. In fact, don’t even use the word “synergy” anywhere in your resume. Don’t mention it in your interview. Don’t think about it on the way home from the doctor’s office. It’s tired and outdated. Let’s put it to bed once and for all.

Here are 20 additional clichés to remove from your resume-writing vocabulary include:

  • Problem solver

  • Dynamic

  • Proactive

  • Multitasker

  • Flexible

  • Punctual

  • People person

  • Good listener

  • Self-starter

  • Go-getter

  • Passionate

  • Excellent leadership skills

  • Goal-oriented

  • Highly qualified

  • Fast learner

  • Skilled

  • Dedicated

  • Reliable

  • Experienced

  • Organized

What should you replace these resume buzzwords with? We wrote a great post on the best words to use on a resume here.

Memorable impression

Always keep in mind that your resume has to make a great first impression on prospective employers. When you use the right resume buzzwords and avoid the wrong clichés, you will demonstrate the value you’ll add to the hiring manager’s team and stand out from the crowd of job seekers vying for the same positions you want. Use the buzzwords to tell a genuine story about your career history and accomplishments. 

It can be quite overwhelming to write a resume that drives a compelling narrative. Because of that, you have a team of professional resume writers waiting to work with you to take the next steps on your career journey.

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Marsha Hebert, professional resume writer

Written by

Marsha Hebert, Professional Resume Writer

Marsha is a resume writer with a strong background in marketing and writing. After completing a Business Marketing degree, she discovered that she could combine her passion for writing with a natural talent for marketing. For more than 10 years, Marsha has helped companies and individuals market themselves. Read more advice from Marsha on ZipJob's blog.

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