When I stumbled across “500 Positive Resume Action Verbs That Get Job Interviews,” I got kind of excited, because I usually review several resumes every week (thanks, y’all, for asking for my input, I try to combine tact with brutal honesty). I frequently suggest that legal job seekers use a functional skills format to sell the capabilities they have to prospective employers.
I thought I had hit pay dirt with this extensive handy-dandy list, but upon closer inspection, I would seriously avoid using some of these verbs, including (but not limited to):
- Amplified. What? The volume on your computer?
- Blazed. It’s a little over-the-top, you pyromaniac.
- Conceived. File under “what’s the worst thing that ever happened to you at work?”
- Correlated. So you rule the copy machine.
- Enabled. So much left to the imagination about your co-dependent relationship with your last boss.
- Hypothesized. Forget it, unless you’re Einstein.
- Instigated. I’ve seen this verb misused on resumes and in cover letters. Properly used, it means you were the office gossip and backstabber.
- Justified. Tell me again why your lunch breaks always run over by 30 or more minutes?
- Liased. Wut?
- Orchestrated. This only applies to those who mastermind bank heists.
- Pinpointed. You figured out who was stealing your secret stash of spare staples from your cubicle.
- Ran. I like this one. It implies you quickly fled from all real responsibility.
- Reputed. This doesn’t mean what you think it does, unless you’re taking credit for someone’s else’s work.
- Simulated. Fancy word for faking it.
- Sparked. See blazed above.
- Steered. Yeah, I’ve driven my boss to the airport a few times, too.
- Systematized. This one makes me giggle. I’m pretty sure it’s a synonym for filing.
- Tackled. So you took down a co-worker before she could microwave your Hot Pocket that she stole from the firm fridge. No biggie.
- Transcribed. This means you worked for Luddites who still use audiocassettes to dictate.
- Validated. Eh, we’d all like to feel that every single day at work.
Best Reader Comment from Elizabeth: WHAT!? I must redo my resume stat!!
My current job description reads: “I ran and orchestrated a small family law office in which I enabled the attorneys to instigate, hypothesize, and pinpoint issues related to California Family Law in a more systematized manner. My ideas sparked, conceived, and justified new procedures in which I was able to more appropriately simulate a smooth running office.”
What she said…