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The Best and Worst Resume Buzzwords for Legal Professionals

Posted on July 18, 2018 by Law Dawgs | Resumes
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Six seconds. According to several studies, this is the time hiring managers spend reviewing a resume before moving on to the next. With such limited time, legal professionals must make a quick impact and implementing buzzwords within a resume is a great way to help accomplish this feat. However, while some buzzwords may help your cause, others will crush it. Make certain you pick the right ones to make your resume shine.

The Best

Action words are a great way for legal candidates to quickly describe their accomplishments. Some great action words to use in a resume include:

  • Achieved
  • Budgeted
  • Hired
  • Improved
  • Negotiated
  • Organized
  • Presented
  • Won

Once a proven action word is used, candidates can follow it up with a bulleted list of achievements.

In addition to action words, some of the best of the best buzzwords are found in the actual job post that a candidate is responding to. For example, a post seeking a legal secretary may state that the ideal person for the job will perform some of the following: file documents, schedule meetings, transcribe, proofread, and send invoices. Here, an applicant will want to use these same words, either alone or with other words, for buzzwords that speak directly to what the employer wants.

The Worst

LinkedIn actually publishes an annual list of the top 10 buzzwords to avoid using on a resume. The list for 2017 was:

  • Specialized
  • Leadership
  • Passionate
  • Strategic
  • Experienced
  • Focused
  • Expert
  • Certified
  • Creative
  • Excellent

LinkedIn partnered with best-selling biographer Christopher Sandford to understand why these words are resume killers. According to Christopher, bad buzzwords (including those listed above) share several traits. These include they're: over-used, lack creativity, and associate candidates with a group or industry.

In working with candidates, LAW DAWGS often provides an easy tip to help candidates identify crummy buzzwords. Unless you're brand new to the work-force, you likely have several old resumes that you still use and work from. Review these with some detail. Find common words that you've used across different ones. The odds are that these are likely generic and not effective in today's legal market. Make sure you replace them with something new and creative.

We don't have to tell you that a resume is perhaps the most important document that you'll submit to a potential employer. Don't lose out on your next big employment opportunity because your resume is infused with buzzwords that don't work. Use the above as a guide, go the extra mile, and create an effective resume that sells yourself. Need help in the process? Simply contact us now. We're always ready to assist our candidates.


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