Resume Tip – Words to Remove from Your Resume – "Assisted, helped"


In the lists of power verbs posted on some resume help websites, you will find the words “assisted” and “assisted.” Unfortunately, if you trust lists like this, you may be deeply delusional.

The verbs “assisted” and “helped” should be used only when describing your work in a very specific category: help. That’s the * only * place these verbs belong! Here are some examples.

Telling us on your resume that you helped someone with something is as informative as you make it. Honestly, I don’t care that you helped make a movie. I want to know who held a camera or a boom; who ordered pizza (or handled catering orders); or who solves problems in emergency situations.

It is essential that you do not be fooled into thinking that Assisted and Helped are always verbs of power. They often only lead to vague and uninteresting bullets.


For. Artist collaboration and personal network.

B. Artists accompanied to television appearances and mediated between artists and network staff.

And compare:

For. Assisted with small claims cases.

B. Handling all phases of collection and litigation of small claims cases. Served short small claims; directed the court clerk and court commissioner on what action to take in signature cases.

Version b. in both cases it is much more interesting and descriptive than version a.

There are limited situations in which it may be appropriate to use the words “assisted” or “assisted.” For instance:

For. Helped disabled adults perform simple job tasks in their workplaces.

B. Assisted elderly residents with their personal and financial record keeping.

Note that in these last two examples, although there may be other ways to express the bullets, we are not left wondering, “Well, what exactly did you do to help or help?”

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? Make us a picture. We want to know.

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