Getting hired is a job in itself and your resume is the tool that can help you get it done. You’ve inevitably heard a lot about how to structure a resume — what kind of information to include on it, what to avoid and so on.
However, beyond those broad topics, it’s important to look at the resume on a more detailed level by examining the ways you describe work tasks, awards earned and other notable things about your past jobs or relevant experience. Indeed, resume words should be chosen carefully so you’ll end up with a powerful personal profile that packs a punch.
Keep reading to learn some general information about why word usage is important. Plus, get charts full of possibilities to use that’ll get you off to a good start.
Show Why You Have What Employers Want
Think of your resume as a snapshot of the things about you that will benefit potential employers. A study carried out by the National Association of Colleges and Employers showed there are certain traits that are especially appealing to employers who are trying to fill open positions. The top two attributes were leadership abilities and being able to work as part of a team. Not surprisingly, a strong work ethic and good written communication skills were also desirable.
If you know some of those qualities represent your strengths, use resume words that showcase those abilities. Plus, emphasize certain supporting traits.
For example, if you were responsible for leading a team of people who were responsible for trying to attract lucrative new clients to a company, it’d be smart to discuss the things you had to keep your team on track with the task as well as your communication capabilities.
Examples include “instructed,” “encouraged,”, “negotiated” and “explained.”
Focus on Verb Usage
Resume words aren’t all the same as far as their overall impact. Hiring experts recommend that if you really want to make an impact, choose action verbs to talk about the jobs you’ve done or roles you’ve assumed. There are several reasons why those choices are so appropriate.
First, they facilitate informed skimming. You’ve probably heard how employers usually spend mere seconds looking at the resumes they receive. When they’re scanning yours, it’s crucial for them to see snippets of content that make them want to review your skills in greater detail. Action verbs are excellent because they’re descriptive and help employers picture you doing certain kinds of work.
Action verbs also set your resume apart from the others. If a position is very competitive, that might mean hundreds of people put themselves in the running for it. Fortunately, a Google search reveals no shortage of choices when it comes to action verbs most suitable for resumes. Use them wisely so your work history stands out from the crowd.
Use Resume Words to Fit the Job You Want
People usually write distinctive cover letters when applying for jobs, but might not take the extra time required to tailor their resumes to the positions. To go with that approach, make sure you’re well aware of the required skills for the job. If you don’t have those foundational elements, employers almost certainly won’t devote much time to seeing what your resume mentions.
Once you know a job’s essentials, tweak your resume so it outlines your abilities in ways that match what the employers are asking for. Also, highlight how you’ve used those mandatory skills in your past work. If a job you want mentions Adobe Photoshop experience as a necessity, use a part of your resume to go into detail about the proficiency level you have with that software and the ways you successfully depended on it to get things done.
It’s best to describe things in ways that make it clear you have everything needed to excel. If employers have doubts, they’ll probably just put your resume submission aside in favor of other applicants who were able to more clearly state how well they’re equipped.
Research and Avoid Overused Words and Phrases
Remember what you already learned about making sure your resume is set apart from others received? It’ll be hard to do that if you’re too dependent on words and phrases that may seem effective but are actually used too frequently.
Instead of just describing yourself as a “self-starter,” “motivated person” or a “quick learner,” use action verbs to expand on events in your history that back up those claims. Job search analysts have deemed all of them overused, which is why it’s important to steer clear of picks like those and instead go further by including accurate descriptions.
Now that you’ve learned why the words that populate resumes are so crucial, let’s take a look at several charts filled with great words to use. They’re conveniently grouped into categories for easy reference, but keep in mind there’s a bit of overlap in some cases.
Analysis and Research Words:
Teaching, Learning and Personal Development Words:
Stood up (against/for)
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As you can see, it’s definitely possible to prep your resume so it’s polished and performance-oriented in ways that make employers take notice. Words are memorable — especially when used correctly as you attempt to secure a job. Whether writing a resume from scratch or revamping an existing document, you now have the tools to do it in an impactful way.