Buzzwords versus Keywords Print E-mail
Selecting the right language to get your resume noticed is a critical factor in your success. But this is often overlooked by job seekers focused on landing an interview.
 
Keywords vary by industry and represent important qualifications and skills that gain the attention of hiring managers, search engines, and electronic screening systems. These are distinct from buzzwords, which tend to be overused words taken from popular culture that do little to demonstrate your value to a potential company. Follow the tips below to ensure you are using language that clearly conveys your qualifications.

Quantify Results
 
Buzzwords typically convey “soft skills” that cannot be measured. Examples include “works well with others” or “team player.” While these may be important in maintaining efficient daily operations, using this kind of language in your resume does not distinguish you from other candidates. 
 
In a tight job market, you must demonstrate a proven record of tangible results to grab the attention of the hiring manager. Certain industries, such as sales, lend themselves more easily to quantifying results, but that doesn’t mean you can’t provide a description that explains the impact of your efforts. For example, “streamlined manufacturing process to deliver product 3 days ahead of schedule” or “trained end-users on new computer system that provided real-time access to inventory” are phrases that describe specific results. 
 
Analyze the impact of your actions on the overall organization if you don’t have measures in place that quantify your achievements for you. Reduced costs and profit growth are typically the end results hiring managers are interested in, but there are often many steps along the way that also contribute to those ultimate outcomes.
 
Words to Avoid 
 
When targeting management and leadership positions, your resume must present your work history and skills as commensurate with the executive suite. However, the wrong choice of language can easily sabotage that professional image. 
 
Many candidates use phrases such as “responsible for,” “familiar with,” or “results-oriented” to convey daily duties in their previous roles. Not only are the phrases too general to be meaningful, but they also give the impression that you are an underling within the organization. Likewise, “responsible for” or “responsible to” clearly demonstrates that you did not have control over the task, which is likely the opposite of what you wish to convey. Use active language that communicates your ability to take charge and produce measurable results.
 
Connect the Dots
 
While quantifiable results are important, your resume also needs to help the hiring manager see you in the role and capable of resolving real issues for the company. Emphasizing transferable skills is the key to gaining the hiring manager’s attention. By demonstrating your ability to produce tangible results and linking that to ongoing problems the company is facing, you are increasing your value to the potential employer. 
 
All of these suggestions help you be more specific in describing your skills and work history. Avoiding generalities and overused phrases helps the hiring manager see you as an individual, while the measurable results increase your potential value. Choose the language in your resume thoughtfully, and the hiring manager is more likely to be choosing you for an interview soon!