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Should You Use Buzzwords on Your Resume?


By Debbie Bunch

June 3, 2024

According to a recent study by SimpleTexting that looked at more than six million job listings in the U.S., these are the top five buzzwords that appear in recruitment ads —

  1. Innovator
  2. Dynamic
  3. Team player
  4. Proven track record
  5. Empower

But should you use them on your resume? That’s a good question, and experts are mixed in their answers.

While some believe including these words on a resume can help boost a job candidate’s chances (automated resume screening software may pick up on them), most believe the best resumes are those that clearly outline the qualifications and experience a person brings to the table instead.

In other words, stating you are “a dynamic team player with a proven track record and a history of innovation who can empower others to excel” may sound good, but it’s meaningless unless you back it up with details showing it is true.

So, if you do decide to include buzzwords on your resume, use them sparingly and make sure you present clear evidence confirming that you do, indeed, possess all of the skills those buzzwords imply.

For example. . .

If you want to demonstrate that you are a “dynamic team player,” cite two or three examples of teams you were on that achieved their objective. That can be anything from a hospital-wide team charged with redesigning the crash cart to your participation during Grand Rounds with colleagues from other disciplines.

If you want to highlight your “proven track record,” include the major accomplishments you made at each of your previous positions, such as being one of the first therapists to work under a new therapist-driven protocol or helping to establish a pulmonary rehabilitation program.

If you want to paint yourself as an “innovator” then include bullet points on your resume detailing innovations you brought to your employers in the past, like training in lung ultrasound or volunteering to staff a new arterial line service.

If you want to emphasize your ability to “empower,” share key examples of times when you have been able to participate in activities that elevated your department. Examples here can range from adopting new mechanical ventilators in the ICUs to helping to plan a bigger and better annual RC Week celebration.

Bottom line: Buzzwords may garner some attention (mainly from software-driven resume readers) but without evidence to back them up, they aren’t going to get you anywhere with the person who counts in the end — i.e., the hiring manager.


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