Word Choices That Will Make Your Resume Stand Out

When it comes to resumes, words matter. Concrete, specific nouns paired with defining, active verbs will make an impactful difference. Because of the pictures they paint and the visuals they inspire, the words we choose have the power to propel a resume to the top of the pile or to bury it in the ho-hum bottom half, where it offers the candidate little chance for a real shot at the position. 

Some commonly used words and phrases do little to shine a positive light on the candidate. These run-of-the-mill descriptions take on a meaningless tone that, again, do nothing to align the jobseeker and his/her qualifications with the position at hand.


Consider these resume blunders and mark them in the “steer clear” category. 

Mistake #1 –

Incorporating job description language, i.e., “duties involved,” “responsibilities included” when describing past work experience. Instead, think in terms of accomplishments and achievements, results, and initiatives. Include those things that stretched the borders of your job description rather than rehash the dull, and too-expected, rudimentary tasks.

LeaderStat advises, When documenting your experience, it’s tempting to list the daily tasks or responsibilities for that job. Boring! We’ve even heard of candidates pulling them directly from job descriptions. One problem with that is the hiring manager already knows the responsibilities associated with related jobs. A bigger issue is that it doesn’t say anything about you! Detailing what you accomplished while in a role forms a picture of what type of employee you are for the employer.”


Mistake #2 –

While phrases such as when “necessary,” “needed,” “required,” and “assigned” seem harmless and, well, necessary, they are neither. Of course, you performed duties as and when required, but how does that add to the overview you’re attempting to paint of your skillset? And as for harmless, those phrases leave out the notion of any kind of initiative, and instead give the impression you chose not to go above and beyond the bare minimum requirements. When you consider how that may look to a prospective employer, it’s easy to understand the need to banish these phrases from your resume.


Mistake #3 –

Allowing clichés, exaggerations, wordiness, or flowery speech to worm their way into a resume. Include nothing but the lean, mean facts suggests the LeaderStat job placement experts.

“Your resume must be packed with relevant specifics and absolutely nothing else. Use specific examples that showcase your skills and experience, highlight areas and keywords you know will be of particular interest to the employer, and avoid wasting time and space using clichés -- ‘people-pleaser,’ ‘out-of-the-box thinker,’ etc.”

For instance, when crafting a resume for a leadership position such as the director of nursing (DON), unit manager, or RN Supervisor, begin with a list of accomplishments and measurable successes. Of course, you must include educational and certification info but do so further down the page.

The LeaderStat team encourages a focus on the particulars, with a directive to not shy away from the specifics. What would catch the attention of a nursing home administrator? Again, think in terms of how your past accomplishments and results relate specifically to the sought-after position. Rather than merely stating, “Oversaw management of the entire unit,” include the numbers and details that will paint a more vivid picture. Bullet points might consist of—

  • Oversaw and managed a 102-bed skilled nursing facility.
  • Increased star rating from a 2 to a 5-star rating by CMS.
  • Achieved an average census of 99%; a 15% increase over 12 months.

Words that draw attention to all that you can bring to a position, that utilize specific details and focus on accomplishments and results will make your resume stand out.


If you're looking to connect with LeaderStat to find your next perfect position, contact our team at 877-699-STAT.


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LeaderStat specializes in direct care staff, interim leadership, executive recruitment, travel nursing and consulting for healthcare organizations nationwide.