Resume Buzzwords: What They Are and How to Use Them

When it comes to creating a resume, there are a lot of different approaches you can take. But one thing that all great resumes have in common is the use of strategic language.

In other words, your resume should be full of words and phrases that will catch the attention of recruiters and hiring managers and help you stand out from the competition. But what exactly are these buzzwords that everyone’s talking about? And how can you use them to your advantage? Let’s take a closer look!

What is a resume buzzword?

When you’re job searching, the words you write can make or break your resume. A resume buzzword— also known as a power word— is a specific word or phrase that hiring managers look for to evaluate your skills and qualifications. And, in a world where software is commonly used to sort through resumes, it’s important to use the keywords that applicant tracking systems (ATS) are scanning for. 

Buzzwords could be industry-specific terms, such as familiar technologies or software programs you may have used and that demonstrate your proficiency in the field. They could also be more general traits sought after in today’s workplace, like good leadership or communication skills. Buzzwords are also commonly verbs, which demonstrate your skills in action.

Knowing which resume buzzwords to use— and where— can amplify your resume and set you apart from similar applicants. Spending some time researching what keywords are relevant to the position you want can be a great place to start when crafting your resume.

how to use resume buzzwords effectively

How to use buzzwords effectively

Crafting a resume is like writing a story in which the main character is you. In the same way that authors use certain words to bring characters to life, jobseekers can galvanize their resumes with dynamic buzzwords. 

Here’s what you should keep in mind. 

1. Cater your resume to the job description.

First and foremost, you should cater each and every resume you write to the job that you are applying for. This means reading the job posting, noting what skills and qualifications they’re looking for, and making sure to include them on your resume. It can help to use the exact words they use in the job description. For example, if they’re looking for someone who is proficient in Adobe Photoshop, make sure to mention Adobe Photoshop rather than just “photo editing software”. 

Note: You should always be honest! Don’t include skills that you do not actually have.

2. Research the company’s values.

Want to prove that you’re a great fit for the company? Show that you live out their values. 

Visit the company website and look at their “About Us” page. If they have their mission or values listed, try to think of ways that you can incorporate them into your resume. 

For instance, helping others may be a core value at the company you are applying to. Hiring managers at this organization would likely value seeing volunteer experience on your resume.

3. Show how you embody the buzzwords. 

The trick is not to just slam them down on the paper and expect results— rather, demonstrate how these qualities are embodied in your past experiences by providing tangible examples. If you’re an adept problem-solver, for instance, point out exactly how you identified key issues at previous jobs and provided effective solutions. 

In this way, using resume buzzwords successfully can really enhance your candidacy and create powerful connections between the reader and what you have to offer.

4. Don’t overuse your buzzwords.

Many jobseekers may be tempted to overuse buzzwords on their resumes in an effort to make themselves stand out from the competition. 

However, it’s important to remember that there’s a difference between effective self-promotion and overselling yourself. Buzzwords, when used too frequently or incorrectly, can be off-putting and send employers a message that you don’t know what you’re talking about. 

Instead of trying to cram in keywords, focus on accurately articulating your experience by giving concise, yet detailed examples of past achievements. Briefly mention your relevant skills in context so employers understand precisely why they are applicable to the position. 

Examples of resume buzzwords

Even writers can have a difficult time coming up with the words that properly articulate their experience! Keeping a list of power words nearby when you’re writing your resume can ensure you’re using the right ones.

resume buzzword examples

The bottom line

Resumes can be one of the most difficult steps of a job search. With hundreds, maybe even thousands of people applying for the same position, it’s important to make sure yours stands out and gets noticed by recruiters and hiring managers alike. One way to do that is by making sure you use the right words to outline your experience. 

Whether it’s technical language related to your field or words describing your personality and attitude, having relevant keywords can help employers quickly identify your resume as a good fit.