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Words You Choose

To appear dynamic and capable in a letter or during an interview, use words that are specific and descriptive rather than vague or general. The words and phrases chosen to describe yourself have an impact on your overall impression. Lists are provided for the following word types (link to one of the three for word examples):

Examples of Action Words

Use action words to describe your skills and accomplishments. Avoid overuse of "able to," "can," "know how to," and "responsible for." Example, "Hired, trained and supervised six employees." versus a passive sentence, "Responsible for hiring, training and supervising employees." Use the past tense when describing past job duties or activities; do not use words ending in -ing. "Ordered supplies, maintained accurate financial records and filed." versus "Responsible for ordering, bookkeeping and filing."

analyzed

distributed

managed

reorganized

approved

established

motivated

researched

arranged

evaluated

negotiated

reviewed

assembled

expanded

organized

revised

assisted

facilitated

participated

scheduled

communicated

implemented

performed

set up

completed

improved

persuaded

solved

composed

increased

planned

supervised

created

initiated

presented

supported

demonstrated

investigated

proposed

taught

designed

led

provided

trained

developed

lectured

recommended

wrote

diagnosed

maintained

reduced

Personal Descriptor

Use descriptive words. Be specific about what you worked with and describe accomplishments by using numbers or other descriptive words to give a clear picture.

adaptable

efficient

observant

responsible

aggressive

energetic

optimistic

skilled

assertive

enthusiastic

patient

stable

astute

flexible

perceptive

strong

bilingual

honest

personable

tactful

capable

imaginative

persistent

thorough

competent

independent

poised

tolerant

creative

innovative

practical

trained

dedicated

loyal

productive

versatile

dependable

mature

punctual

will relocate

detail-oriented

methodical

realistic

willing to travel

diplomatic

motivated

reliable

effective

objective

resourceful

Qualitative Words and Phrases

consistently

significantly

effective

successfully

experienced

varied background

extensive

wide scope

familiarity with

in-depth knowledge of

proficient in

Key Words

Administration:

transcriptions

records management

business law

Art :

multi-media

graphics

illustration

Automotive :

electrical theory

tune-up

transmission

Computers :

networks

java programming

database

Education :

psychology

communication

lesson plans

Engineering :

schematics

prototype

design specifications

Health Careers

anatomy

pharmacology

medical terms

Hospitality :

international
relations

customer
service

sanitation

Industrial :

blueprints

machine tool

hydraulics

Management :

accounting

human services

marketing

Science :

quantitative analysis

microbiology

applied physics

Social Services :

gerontology

substances abuse

mental health

*For on-line lists of action and key words, refer to e-resumes.

Center for Employment Services at Lansing Community College

Career and Employment Services
Continental Bldg (CB), Room 104
Phone: (517) 483-1172
Additional contact information »

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