Choosing the right wording on your resume is very important. Some words pack a punch, and some leave the reader wanting more information. For the final segment in my resume tips series, we’ll focus on two verbs that don’t have much power: “Assisted” and “Helped.”
On one list of recommended resume verbs, “Power Verbs for Your Resume” from The University of Iowa’s Pomerantz Career Center, the verbs assisted and helped are listed under a very specific category: Helping. That is the only place where these verbs belong! You should delete these words from your resume and use more powerful verbs. Take a look at some examples below.
Telling us on your resume that you assisted somebody with something is only as informative as you make it. Honestly, I do not care that you assisted on a film shoot. I want to know that you held a camera or a boom; that you ordered pizza (or handled catering orders); or that you troubleshot in emergency situations.
It is essential that you don’t get fooled into thinking that Assisted and Helped are always power verbs. They often just lead to vague and uninteresting bullets.
Instead of “Helped”
Example #1 – Compare:
a. Helped artists and network personnel.
b. Accompanied artists to television appearances and mediated between the artists and network personnel.
Instead of “Assisted”
Example #2 – Compare:
a. Assisted with small claims cases.
b. Handled all phases of collection and litigation of small claims cases. Attended small claims court; directed court clerk and court commissioner regarding what action to take on firm’s cases.
Version b. in both cases is much more interesting and descriptive than version a.
When “Helped” and “Assisted” are Appropriate
There are limited situations in which it can be appropriate to use the words assisted or helped. For example:
a. Helped disabled adults to perform simple job tasks at their job locations.
b. Assisted elderly residents with their personal and financial recordkeeping.
Note in these last two examples, that although there might be other ways to phrase the bullets, we are not left wondering, “Well, what did you do exactly to help or assist?”
Take a look at your resume. Did you find the words “Helped” or “Assisted”? If so, can you be more specific about what you did? Draw us a picture. We want to know.
For more resume tips and writing assistance, go to The Essay Expert’s Resume Writing Services. We can help you choose the right words for a powerful resume that gets results.