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From time to time, I come across interesting articles that suggest certain words not be used on resumes. Recruiters see a fair number of these documents in a year, and they have personal preferences based on their industry of specialization and experience. Here are some words that can be interpreted as merely annoying or silly, based on the reader’s perspective.

Assisted – you either did something, or you didn’t. If you did any part of the work, take credit!

Seasoned – brings up mental pictures of someone throwing spices on a candidate. Seasoned with what? salt and pepper? garlic?

My personal favorites are “all” and “handled.” If you did 25% of a function, you can take credit, right? What’s the significance of managing 75% or 98% of a specific function? If you were a surgeon, would you mention on a resume that you performed 25% of a surgery or that you only stitched the patient up? What picture does that create for the reader, that you are incompetent? unprepared? indisposed? paralyzed by fear and indecision?

When I read the word “handled” on a resume, I see someone shuffling papers or grasping something. Isn’t there a better, more descriptive word for what you do to add value?

Resumes should be crafted thoughtfully and carefully so that there is no question of your value. If you expect to be understood and compensated well, then words matter.

Ellie Vargo, MRW, CCMC