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Give Your Resume A Boost: 5 Winning Words for Entry-Level Job Seekers

Sean Weinberg | April 5, 2011

If you’re graduating college and entering the job market, congratulations and condolences.  Congratulations, because 1 in three adults has a bachelor’s degree, so you’re now a member of an elite club.  Condolences, because the job market for graduating seniors is still brutal.

To help your transition from college into the workforce, our friends at  Experience asked the RezScore team to determine the five best words college kids should include in their resume.  It turned out to be a confusing subject.  Innumerable “experts” push their own secret blend of flashy adverbs and action verbs while a handful of other “experts” caution against using the same said buzzwords.  It made us dizzy.  So we at RezScore did what we always do when we face a tough situation: We SCIENCED it.

To solve this problem, we aggregated the results of our prior survey of hiring managers, in which we asked them to grade several resumes’ quality.  For each resume, we determined which words were unique to the resume using a linear algebra process called “Term Frequency Inverse Document Frequency“, a measure not unlike Amazon’s “statistically improbable phrases.”   By weighting this measure against resume quality scores, we were able to determine the percentage “boost” your resume would get by using each term.  We then picked out the top five terms relevant to college students.  Without further ado:

5. Fluent (62.5% boost)

Nowadays, America’s business is the world’s business.  Some languages may be more important than others in the workplace, but mastering any foreign language is a good way for you as a college student to position yourself as a member of global workforce.

4. Honors (66.7% boost)

Many college experiences are irrelevant to the fast changing job market, but pursuing and achieving recognition among your peers is desirable in any context.  Always mention any accolades you received or honors classes you took.

3. Led (71.4% boost)

Even though few entry level jobs involve directly managing people, employers like to hire students they believe can grow into management positions.  Make sure your resume demonstrates you can handle authority capably.

2. Achievement (71.5% boost)

Are you sensing a pattern among the last three words?  Our algorithm clearly did.  ”Honors”, “Leadership”, and “Achievements” are three fairly generic yet strong words you can use to make you appear… how might Mr. Sheen put it… tri-winning?

1. Dean’s List (85.7% boost)

If you spent your entire college tenure diligently maintaining an excellent GPA, then you’ve demonstrated the ability to maintain a high level of performance over a long timeframe.  You’re what every employer wants.

As always, if you want help with your resume or to ask us any questions, head over to, where you can receive an instant resume grade for free.  Best of luck with the job hunt!

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Category: Internships, Jobs

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