Resume Words That Make or Break Your Cleared Job Search

Posted by Ashley Jones
resume words

Our tips to help you select the best resume words for cleared job search success.

An effective cleared resume should pique a recruiter or hiring manager’s interest and help you land an interview. The rest is up to you from there—but before you can wow an employer in an interview, your resume needs to summarize your most valuable achievements. The words on your resume should be carefully chosen to immediately capture an employer’s attention. Watch out for subjective stock phrases, and instead include resume words that show, not tell, what you’re capable of.

Subjective Resume Words and Phrases to Avoid

Recruiters aren’t going to sit down with your resume and read it in great detail at first glance. They have countless resumes to get through and need to find what they’re looking for quickly to merit a deeper dive. You only have a couple seconds to make a good initial impression, so make sure you’re not giving them a reason to toss your resume into the no pile.

Recruiters dislike cliché, subjective adjectives. You may truly be “detail-oriented,” but they’ve read terms like that about a thousand times too many to make it really mean anything. Don’t try to tell them how great you are with stock phrases anybody can simply copy and paste into a resume template. Your resume needs to be descriptive – not filled with misleading, passive, or subjective language.

Recruiters do not want to see these subjective adjectives and filler phrases on your resume. Delete terms like these to improve your cleared resume:

  • Best of breed
  • Detail-oriented
  • Dynamic
  • Go-getter
  • Go-to person
  • Hard worker
  • Responsible for
  • Results-driven
  • Self-motivated
  • Strategic thinker
  • Team player
  • Think outside of the box

Read here to find out what else cleared employers do not want to see on your resume.

Action Verbs and Power Words to Include in Your Resume

Subjective adjectives and lists of responsibilities don’t communicate your talents and skills to a potential employer. Instead, your resume should focus on accomplishment statements that begin with power words.

Crafting accomplishment statements with the S.T.A.R. formula will lead to a rich resume. The formula includes: Situation, Task, Action, Result. Beginning with an action verb will help you write your accomplishment statements. Your goal is to show how well you achieved your responsibilities, supported by metrics whenever possible. For example:

Assumed management of a failing contract. Within 90 days built effective customer relationships, improved critical metrics, closed all overdue items, and led the team to a successful contract re-award.

Statements like these show employer’s what you’re capable of, versus what you were merely responsible for. This is a much more compelling statement than calling yourself a “proactive strategic thinker.”

Build your cleared resume by using action verbs like these to help describe your achievements:

  • Achieved
  • Analyzed
  • Assessed
  • Budgeted
  • Conceptualized
  • Coordinated
  • Created
  • Designed
  • Developed
  • Devised
  • Diagnosed
  • Enabled
  • Engineered
  • Evaluated
  • Executed
  • Facilitated
  • Generated
  • Guided
  • Ideas
  • Improved
  • Increased/Decreased
  • Influenced
  • Integrated
  • Launched
  • Led
  • Managed
  • Measured
  • Negotiated
  • Operated
  • Produced
  • Programmed
  • Refined
  • Repaired
  • Resolved
  • Restructured
  • Revenue/Profits
  • Solved
  • Trained/Mentored
  • Under budget
  • Updated
  • Volunteered
  • Won


  • Ashley Jones

    Ashley Jones is ClearedJobs.Net's blog Editor and a cleared job search expert, dedicated to helping security-cleared job seekers and employers navigate job search and recruitment challenges. With in-depth experience assisting cleared job seekers and transitioning military personnel at in-person and virtual Cleared Job Fairs and military base hiring events, Ashley has a deep understanding of the unique needs of the cleared community. She is also the Editor of ClearedJobs.Net's job search podcast, Security Cleared Jobs: Who's Hiring & How.

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This entry was posted on Monday, August 09, 2021 2:15 pm

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