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Good Descriptive Words for Resumes

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Resumes are often the first impression you make on a prospective employer. Good resumes can lead to in-person job interviews and ultimately to job offers. Choosing the best words to describe both yourself and your abilities is imperative to your job hunt. Make sure you are using the right words and that your resume represents you in the best light.

Adaptive Behavior Descriptors

Most employers are looking for job candidates who have the necessary skill sets and appropriate work and educational backgrounds. Besides these hard-skill sets, they are looking for someone who will learn quickly and who will fit in with established company culture. Use descriptive words that communicate your ability to be a team player and contribute to the organization. Some of these types of descriptive words include “professional,” “punctual,” “versatile” and “problem solver.” Some job seekers use “mature,” “motivated,” “responsible” and “industrious” to make the best first impression on recruiters. Other good adaptive descriptors are “leader” and “productive.”

Personality Descriptors

Some potential employers will choose personality traits and attitudes that match the company values over experience. Make sure your resume is advertising your natural strengths and personality traits that are often transferable from job to job. For example, use words including “energetic,” “enthusiastic,” “courteous” and “helpful” to describe how you normally treat your peers and your overall attitude.

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Specific Position Descriptors

If you are applying for a creative position, consider using “expressive,” “imaginative,” “intuitive,” “original” and “resourceful” to describe yourself. If you are applying for a more serious, analytical position, use descriptors such as “conscientious,” “dependable,” “intelligent,” “well organized” and “methodical.”

Descriptive Words to Avoid

Many job seekers add empty buzz words to their resumes in an attempt to stand out in keyword-scanning resume scans. However, this often leads to cliche resumes that can make a bad first impression on recruiters. Rather than adding overused descriptive words, make sure you’re using specific examples of your past accomplishments. For example, instead of describing yourself as “hard-working” or “ambitious,” use “dedicated” or “focused.” Then, give a specific quantitative example of a goal you met in a previous position. Some other words to avoid include “successful” and “experienced.”

About the Author

Denise Brandenberg has more than 15 years professional experience as a marketing copywriter, with a focus in public relations. She also worked as a recruiter for many years and is a certified resume writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English.

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