130+ Resume Buzzwords + Resume Power Words—What to Use and What to Avoid

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Rule #1 of Resume Writing: Don't Be Too Wordy

A mistake we see all too often at Career Contessa is people wanting to sound “smart” on their resume. What do they do? They sprinkle in nonsensical business jargon and fluffy words. Instead of hitting their goal, they do the opposite and confuse recruiters.
Don't be afraid to use your own voice. 
We are huge proponents of infusing creativity wherever we can—especially in stiff hiring documents like a resume or cover letter—but we’d recommend ditching the jargon and instead infusing your resume with strong action verbs that highlight your skills and catch the recruiter’s eye.
This means swapping out sentences like “results-driven team player who managed the onboarding process” with something more specific, like, “I developed an onboarding...
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Offer Negotiation: Ask for it all.

So we're currently negotiating a Sr. Product Managers offer package with a Biotech firm. 

We pushed back and asked them to revise almost every aspect of the offer: 

  • Relocation Bonus
  • Increase in Base Salary
  • Increase in RSU's
  • LTI
  • Green Card process confirmed
  • 4 weeks of vacation not 2. 

We're not doing this because we're greedy...we're doing it because she has a daughter overseas that she wants to bring here...and she'll need to create the best possible circumstance to receive her.

So the next time you feel like talking yourself out of asking for a better package just know that theres a 6'2, generally good looking man thats asking for even more than you would without blinking an eye.

Remember whats at stake.

Your comfort, your ability to really thrive in the role, your future and current family. 

If you want details on how to negotiate well, we have a private FB group with around 2-3 salary negotiation trainings. 

Join us there. 

You got this...

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Are you (job search) burnt out? ⁣

I find that for myself and my clients, we usually find success aka tons of interview requests, multiple offers once they’ve surrendered to the process/gotten a taste of the eff it’s or they are in really really good mind states.

If you’d like to get an offer this year then invite yourself to do something different today whether that be reaching out to a friend, sending a message to the CEO of the company you adore or taking a bath, cooking a really nice meal and hugging the person you love.

The market isn’t as cut and dry as it used to be. Start acting like it and remember that all of the desires of your heart were placed there for a reason. You deserve a higher salary than you can even dream of, you deserve the title too. You deserve it because you’re alive.

That’s it.

—- my burnout solution is the same. Yummy food. Laughter. Breaks. Kundalini. Prayer. Yoga & trap dance parties at night and lots of sunlight / dirty feet in my...

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Negative Personal life Affecting Your Job Search?

Currently, I'm in Santa Barbara finishing up a business trip. It's been great because it's been a first for me. I was flown here to shoot a Salary Negotiation course that will be used by e-Learning companies in the US. 

Although its been great to be here, I've just been holed up in the room working because I've had some difficulties with family that joined me on this trip. 

I know that some of you can relate to being focused on your search but also having to navigate potentially draining and distracting home situations as well. 

I wanted to create this email to not only relieve some of the tension happening on my end but also create some quick fixes for you guys that may be going through something similar as well. 


This is how to not allow a difficult home situation affect your search:

  • Use it. Use the anger,...
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Interview Nerves? Don't freak out.

Don't freak out if you come across as nervous during interviews.

Even though the recruiter probably notices it, we don't care, and expect it.

Instead use these 2 tricks to calm yourself down:

#1 Realize that recruiters - especially at the higher bar companies - go through hundreds of resumes an HOUR, so when we find a candidate that looks good, we assume they are a fit.

Just say less by sticking to the STAR Method and keep in mind you're interviewing them as well.

#2 Post it Note:
Keep a few on your laptop or near your phone.

Let it say
' I have nothing to prove'
'I'm qualified already'
'I don't have to impress them'
'I can just be me'
'What can I do to make this call easier for THEM'.......interviewers speak to sometimes 5 candidates a day...how can you make your call go by efficiently..?

Choose any and look down at them as needed.

#3 Practice deep breathing during the call as well.

P.S I get nervous all the time (including here).

It's pretty much my default setting at this...

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Thank God they laid you off.

Thank God you couldn't keep that job. Thank God.

I'm sorry but can we thank god for all the crappy situations we 'suffered' through that brought us into a world we had NO IDEA was available for us?

Be grateful for that uncomfortable work situation you're in because if it wasn't there...it wouldn't have brought you here...to read this post...and to realize that there is NO REASON why you should still be working for a company / in a role you hate in a post Covid 2020 world.


You can absolutely be a bartender and turn into a Data Analyst (working with job seekers doing that right now)

....be a Physics / Mathematics Teacher and turn into a Research Analyst (working with job seekers doing that right now)

...run from a 4-5 year career in investment bank into a fun role within a FinTech firm (my favorite clients actually )

I feel slightly sleazy saying this but you can 'sell' yourself into any role. You can get what you want.

Create your plan.
And execute it.

No excuses and most...

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How to Lose Respect

The wacky thing about bending over backward to make others feel comfortable is that instead of them seeing you as uber polite....they mistake it for incompetence and weakness. Funny story...

I use to be that girl.

I use to explain away my statements before I made them. I would defer to the men in the room and let them speak before me.

I would give overdone "Yes, please! or Thank you's or "No, no it's okay!!", when I shouldn't have.

This has not only ALWAYS bitten me in the ass but made me resent the person I talked to this way. 

You can't expect someone to treat you with respect if every time you're given the chance to assert yourself by receiving reverence, compliments you brush them off or play the weaker part.

In a work environment, this is something that will get you 'killed'. Now, your smarter colleagues will see through this facade of yours and will still treat you with respect but less evolved...

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Leveling Up at Work = Feeling like Crap


You should feel scared and slightly anxious at work at least once a month.

Do you know why?

Because it means you're learning something new.

This topic feels cliched and dragged through the self-development mud but, hear me out.

Amazon (bless its heart) is one the leading companies to practice this.

When I worked there in my wee, adorable and ambitious late twenties ^_^ I remember having to learn a new function every three weeks.

The team I was on cycled our responsibilities and it was a killer.

I would feel sick with unsurety and lots of overwhelm. Quite often I had small anxiety attacks before bed. 

I wouldn't change that experience for the world. I'd choose it over and over, again and again. 

Because it meant I was stretching. I was becoming someone new (literally.)

"To be someone new means to do things you've NEVER done before"

An indication of this is what I mentioned above...


If you're having heart palpitations before bed, and find...

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How to get $10,000 more than what was budgeted. ⁣

A perfect resume, scripted answer and impressive references are the basics.

You know what will actually make you stand out?

A commitment to owning who you are and showing up as your best self.

Your best self doesn’t always need to know the answer. Your best self doesn’t need to give compliments to everyone and agree with everything the interviewer says.

Your best self is you when you’re being of service. The person you are when you’re trying to solve a problem and help.

Nervousness, self-consciousness left at the door.

- just you...trying to help and be useful.

Be that person as you answer questions and think of thoughtful replies. As you look everyone in the eye and thank them for their time.

At the final hour when you ask for $125,000 vs the $115,000 they budgeted for this role...that’s what’s going to close the deal.

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So you have less than ___ years of Experience...?


10 Resume Tips for Candidates with Little Experience:

1. Keep bullet points on your resume to 6 bullets or less. I know this may be difficult but remember you only want to catch the attention of the recruiter not explain your entire role.

2. Make sure the bullet points you keep are EXTREMELY relevant to the job description. This doesn’t mean you should copy and paste the description. This just means you need to have at least 70% of the bullet points be relevant or semi-relevant.

3. Erase any bullet points that have nothing to do with the job you’re interviewing for. Remember you’re just trying to catch the eye of the recruiter. Later you can explain your role in more detail. 

4. Tailor your job titles (please don’t be dishonest but if your title is Software or Application Developer and the job you’re applying to is iOS Developer (and you primarily coded for an iOS system) then change your title to iOS Developer.

5. If you have more than 5 years of...

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