This One Phrase May Be Killing Your Resume



When writing your resume, you probably looked at examples from successful job seekers and followed the advice of career experts. You replaced the objective with a position statement or a summary. And you made sure that it was a chronological resume – not a functional one. You even went as far as removing cliché descriptive words, like “team player” and “hard working.”

But there’s a good chance that your resume still has one phrase that you should never be using: “Responsible for.”

If you’ve made the mistake of adding this phrase to your resume, you’re not alone. Most people still use it. But it isn’t doing you any favors in winning over the hiring manager.

Why This Phrase May Be Killing Your Resume

What’s the big deal about using “responsible for” when listing off your former duties? At first glance, this phrase seems like a perfectly practical way to list your duties and responsibilities of former positions. But that’s precisely the problem.

Responsibilities are Expectations – Not Accomplishments

The goal of your resume is to catch the attention of the hiring manager. And you do this by highlighting your accomplishments – the things you did, and not just what the position required of you.

Everyone has “responsibilities.” You’re responsible for paying your bills, getting to work on time and taking care of your family. You’re also responsible for keeping your house clean. The trouble is, people don’t always follow through with their responsibilities. And your peers probably have similar “responsibilities.”

Responsibilities are nothing more than expectations. And those expectations aren’t always met.

Doesn’t Set You Apart From Other Candidates

The job market is very competitive. A corporate job opening may receive as much as 200 resumes. Only about 5% of applicants make it to the next stage of the hiring process.

In order for you to have even a slight chance at getting hired, your resume has to stand out in the crowd.

Using this word – or “duties,” which has a similar connotation – doesn’t set you apart from other candidates. It reads like a job description, which is the last thing a hiring manager wants to read.

Focus On Your Accomplishments

Hiring managers want to know what you’ve done – the things you’ve accomplished for other employers. If you were successful, there’s a good chance you can do the same for their company.

How do you list your accomplishments in an appropriate way?

  • Provide examples of achievements that highlight the benefits and value you would bring to the company.
  • Always use active language to describe your accomplishments.
  • Include numbers if possible.
  • Highlight not only your achievements, but the end result as well.


“Increased sales by 15% through the development of a more targeted, effective marketing campaign.”

Long gone are the days of one-size-fits-all resumes. Today, you must stand out in the crowd, and your resume should highlight your accomplishments – i.e. what you can do for the company. Your resume should be brief, concise and to the point, so the hiring manager knows exactly what you have to offer.

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