20 words to avoid in your resume

This list is based on 20+ years’ experience in working with executives, managers and professionals to help them develop their resumes.


With whom? Why? What was the intention? About what?


Who are these mysterious people? Remember, people reading your resume won’t have a clue. Are you referring to clients, customers, senior executives, board members, regulators, government agencies, community organisations, lobby groups. Who?


In what way? To what extent? What did you contribute?


What was your contribution? What were you responsible for? What was the impact of your contribution.


What assistance did you provide? At what level? How did you assist? What was the benefit of your assistance?


What was the nature of your participation? In what way did you participate? What value did your participation add.


What was the nature of your support? What did you do? How did your support make a difference?

Key Role

What was key about it? What part did you play?

Dealt With

How? What happened as a result?


Look up the definition of the word. Use it sparingly. If you had a strategic role, explain what you did.


A customer service issue (for example), could be a complaint. If so, say that.


As in, processing orders or requests. What were you responsible for ensuring or achieving in processing whatever you processed? And, what was involved in the act of processing?


You don’t need to say this. It adds nothing.


Same as “successfully”.

Considerable, Substantial and Significant

Be specific. Don’t leave it up to the reader’s imagination.


This means use. Use use.

Project Managed

Just no. Some people even say they project managed a project.


Use the full name or term unless it’s so well-known that there can be no mis-understanding