Great Resumes Fast » Resume Writing Tips » The Power of the Words on Your Resume

Words convey action, meaning, purpose, and results.  What are the words that you placed on your resume saying about you?  Are you using passive terms like ‘Responsible for …’ and ‘Duties included …’?  These words communicate minimal value, input, and effort.  Or are you using stronger action verbs that communicate results?

Every week we evaluate 200+ resumes from job seekers like you.  Every day we notice that at least 90% of the resumes we evaluate use passive terms to describe the person’s work experience.  Passive terms like ‘Responsible for …’, ‘Worked with …’, and ‘Duties included …’ give the hiring manager the perception that you performed only at the minimum level expected of you—that you met your job requirements but fell short of delivering more.  If we never produced any results for our employers we would all be fired!  So let’s delve into discovering the tangible results you produced for your previous employers.

Instead of saying you were responsible for XYZ, how about trying some of these great alternatives:










Starting your sentence off with a strong action verb automatically conveys a result to the potential employer.  You weren’t just responsible for it—you DELIVERED it, designed it, accelerated it, built it, launched it, evaluated it … you get where I’m going.  The word coveys action and implies results.

So the next time you’re tempted at any point in your resume to use indirect language—STOP.  You’re only selling yourself short and hurting your chances of landing the next great opportunity.  Instead, try something more creative, and be choosey about the terms you use to describe yourself and your previous work experience.  You want to provide the reader with everything he or she needs to determine that you are the perfect fit for that great opportunity you’re pursuing.

For more great resources on resume writing, visit Great Resumes Fast.  Or, for a free resume analysis, e-mail your resume to


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About the author

Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast

Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.

What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.

You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!

I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!


  1. Kelly Trainor on March 4, 2010 at 7:17 am

    Excellent tip. Passive voice gives a poor impression to the reader…the person you most want to impress!

  2. Theresa Behenna on March 4, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Excellent advice Jessica. This group of action words seems to be an updated version of what people used to use i.e. “boost, increase, improve, resulting in” etc. Would that be a correct assumption?
    One of my keynote programs is about the power of words and how positive reinforcement can help achieve goals and realize dreams. But in today’s economy I think words in a resume are of utmost priority. I’m going to forward your info to those I think need your services.
    Hope it benefits all concerned. Thanks for posting this article.
    Theresa Behenna

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