Resume Tips: Words and Phrases to Delete from Your Resume Part 2

Resume Tips: Words and Phrases to Delete from Your Resume Part 2This is one of my favorite resume tips. It will help you show employers exactly what you did and what you can do for them.

Most of us are familiar with the concept of “power verbs” on a resume. We also have unlimited resources for finding and choosing power verbs, such as this list organized by category from the University of Iowa’s Pomerantz Career Center.

How many times have you heard, “Every bullet in a resume should start with a verb”? Dozens at least, right?

Then why are you starting your bullets with the phrase responsible for? Responsible is not a verb, no matter how many times it shows up on your resume. Furthermore, you can be “responsible for” something and not actually do it! Employers care about what you did.

Employers (or their computer systems at least) also care about keywords. I promise you, “responsible” or “responsibility” will never show up in a list of sought-after keywords.

Begin with a Power Verb


a. Was responsible for submitting two sports-related blogs per month for publication on website.
b. Submitted two sports-related blogs per month for publication on website.

And compare:

a. Responsible for raising $250,000 by recruiting staff to run door- to-door canvass reaching 200,000 people.
b. Raised $250,000 by recruiting staff to run door-to-door canvass reaching 200,000 people.

Version b in both cases is shorter and more powerful than version a.

You might be there saying, “But I didn’t just do things, I was responsible for them!” If you had supervisory or managerial responsibilities, there are verbs for that. Some of them are:


Even if you had many significant responsibilities that are important to list on your resume, try including your responsibility in a bullet that also includes an achievement, along with the important keywords you see in the job description. And remember to start each bullet with a verb!

Be “responsible for” the words you choose on your resume. I hope you found these resume tips useful. If you want professional assistance to craft a powerful resume, please contact us.


  1. Happy New Year, Brenda! After reading this, I rushed to my resumes to make sure I have no “Responsible for”s on them! Whew! I had my resume professionally done, but had no traction from it and had to re-do some sections myself. I guess this was one thing my resume writer got right. This is a really helpful article.

    • Hi Jan, did you get more traction after the changes you made? I’m curious what worked that did not work in the original version from the resume writer. One thing to consider is that you really do need to modify your resume for every job application. You want to match the keywords for the position as closely as possible.

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