Writing an impressive and impactful resume can be a challenge. When you’re so wrapped up in trying to cram every single highlight of your professional history onto a neatly-packaged page, the last thing you’re concerned with is your word choice.
But, don’t be fooled—the language you use on your resume is still important. While it’s ultimately the content of your document that will land you a job, paying close attention to the words you’re using and the way you’re phrasing your accomplishments will ensure that your resume gets the attention it deserves from hiring managers and recruiters.
Here are 5 key tips you need to know to write a resume that get’s noticed:
1. Use Precise Verbs in Your Resume Descriptions
It’s tough to think of unique ways to describe your responsibilities at previous jobs. However, starting every single one of your bullet points with something like “Managed…” or “Responsible for…” will only detract from the experience you have under your belt.
Instead, challenge yourself to add some new verbs into your resume that adequately share what you handled at each job—without boring that hiring manager to tears.
See the difference in these examples:
- Managed a team of seven marketing professionals.
- Managed the creation of the company’s first social media calendar.
- Managed monthly social media analytics reports.
- Led a team of seven marketing professionals.
- Conceptualized and created the company’s first social media calendar.
- Assembled, evaluated, and presented monthly social media analytics reports.
**Managed = Led, conceptualized, created,assembled, evaluated, presented
2. Use Active Language
While we’re on the subject of verbs, words like “assisted” and “helped” can be easy ones to lean on in your resume—particularly when you don’t want to hog the credit for the entirety of a project or achievement.
Your humility is admirable. But, these verbs make your resume weaker. Find words that make you sound like an employee who took initiative, rather than someone who was a passive participant.
Check out how we have transformed these sample sentences:
- Helped with creating a sales presentation for the Board of Directors.
- Assisted with streamlining the company’s CRM software.
- Collaborated with the sales team to create a sales presentation for the Board of Directors.
- Systematized all customer contact information as part of a department-wide effort to streamline the CRM software.
3. Skip Pronouns
Writing about yourself can feel awkward and unnatural. But, there’s no need to pepper any sort of pronouns (think words like “I” or “her”) into your document.Skip Pronouns
Why? Well, the “I” is redundant. It’s assumed that your resume is touting the things that you’ve personally done. And, any other pronouns are better off being replaced with more specific terms—such as “manager,” “colleagues,” or “customers.”
See how much stronger this sample sentence is without pronouns:
I am an experienced and self-motivated finance professional with a passion for helping individuals make smart decisions with their money and achieve more secure financial futures. I have over 10 years of experience in the industry, and I am highly skilled in forecasting, budgeting, and communicating with clients.
Experienced and self-motivated finance professional with a passion for helping individuals make smart decisions with their money and achieve more secure financial futures. Over 10 years of experience in the industry, with skills in forecasting, budgeting, and communicating with clients.
4. Write in Fragments
You’ll notice that the example above was packed with sentence fragments. Yes, it feels counterintuitive to everything you ever learned in English class. But, short and punchy phrases are far more impactful on your resume.Write in Fragments
Plus, when you’re already short on real estate, sentence fragments take up far less space on your document. So, don’t be afraid to use them! Rest assured, they’re the widely accepted standard when it comes to your resume.
5. Skip the Buzzwords
You might think buzzwords like “innovative” and “hard-working” make you stand out. But, here’s the thing: Everybody else is adding those same adjectives into their documents (really, would anybody describe themselves as lazy on a resume?).
In fact, hiring managers see them used so often, that they have become totally empty and meaningless. Rather than packing your resume with those vague terms, find a more accurate and detailed way to describe yourself and your qualifications. That way, you’ll leave that hiring manager impressed—rather than scratching his or her head.
Hard-working and detail-oriented innovator with a go-getter attitude and the ability to think outside the box.
Self-motivated technology professional with the ability to leverage data, software, and research to efficiently solve complex problems.
Implement these five key tips to make your resume language stronger and then give your materials one final proofread. After that, you’re well on your way to getting your document to the top of that hiring manager’s pile.You might think that word choice isn’t that important of consideration when crafting your resume—as long as the content is solid, that’s all that really matters. But, make no mistake: The language you use on your document carries a lot more weight than you might think.
Written by Kat Boogaard.