What’re the best descriptive words to use on a resume?

What're the best descriptive words to use on a resume?

When it comes to the job hunt, the best descriptive words to use on a resume are usually adjectives. 

So many resumes are riddled with repeated words and phrases that don’t stand out. Additionally, those that lack action words fail to showcase exactly what you’ve accomplished throughout your career or schooling. 

To have a successful resume that gets the attention of hiring managers, you need to load up on action verbs that help you stand out from the thousands of resumes they see each year.

Here are the best descriptive words to use on a resume and why you should include them.

To showcase process improvement or achievement

Why are employers interested in hiring someone new? So that they can enhance and improve upon the techniques and skills the company already uses. If you have a track record of making improvements and developing processes, that’s important to highlight. 

You can say something like, “I improved the office management ordering system to ensure spending stayed on budget.” Other words that grab attention when it comes to managing processes include: 

  • Decreased
  • Reach
  • Reduced
  • Succeed
  • Attain
  • Grow
  • Yielded

To showcase leadership or management skills

Even if you’ve just graduated from college, you’ve likely had opportunities to showcase your leadership and management skills. Whether you were president of a club or a shift lead at your part-time job, the ability to lead others is a major plus on your resume.

To highlight your leading skills, there are tons of powerful action words to use on your resume that grab attention. 

For instance, saying something like “Oversee restaurant opening and closing, assign sections, and delegate tasks,” will help prospective employers see that you’ve mastered a management hospitality role. 

Other words that show leadership include:

  • Authorize
  • Coach
  • Cultivate
  • Delegate
  • Enable
  • Foster
  • Head
  • Mentor
  • Motivate
  • Review
  • Teach


To showcase customer service skills

Many recent college graduates primarily have customer service experience. While it might seem like you have the same experience as all your peers, your resume is a space where you can amp yourself up and stand out.

It doesn’t matter if you’re ringing people up at the local grocery store or helping people pick out jeans at a department store, it’s all relevant experience you can use to your advantage. 

A great phrase you can use to showcase your abilities on the sales floor includes, “Maximized weekly sales by implementing and promoting specialty and sales items.”

When it comes to customer services and sales roles, it’s also important to mention any awards or accolades your received while on the job. For instance, if you were Employee of the Month or the top seller, make sure to include that. 

Other words that help with customer service skills include:

  • Accelerate
  • Accomplish
  • Drive
  • Earn
  • Enhance
  • Negotiate
  • Merge
  • Outperform
  • Sustain
  • Yield 

To showcase communications and artistic skills

College is a time in life when you’re seriously developing your communication skills. From sending emails to your professor to working with your financial aid office, there are so many opportunities to learn and grow in that area. 

Chances are you’ve also developed some pretty great skills on campus that will light up your resume. Write a piece for the college newspaper? Draft a petition for a campus club? All of those are communicative and creative skills will pack your resume.

One example is, “Drafted campus petition to advocate for vegan and plant-based options on the university campus menu.” 

Other words to use on your resume include:

  • Formulate
  • Edit
  • Develop
  • Demonstrate
  • Write
  • Visualize
  • Transform
  • Modify
  • Guide
  • Collaborate
  • Build

Whatever you’ve done throughout college, there’s always a way to spin it to capture the attention of hiring managers and HR departments. Once you draft your resume, read it over a few times to make sure you’re not repeating yourself and to catch any potential errors.

Remember — your resume is a written first impression. You want to put your best foot forwards.