The purpose of the resume is to make a strong first impression, by highlighting your most relevant skills, experience, and knowledge. It should be impactful, concise, and provide your reader with a clear message as to why you are qualified for the role. Hiring managers scan hundreds of resumes for each job description, and no one wants to read a document full of nondescript adjectives and verbs. So choose powerful, descriptive words to boost your resume.
“Dedicated and results-oriented professional with 10 years of experience supporting marketing and advertising departments.”
“Dedicated” and “results-oriented” are phrases that most people use to describe themselves, and hold no weight from a hiring perspective. Chance are, you can name 10 people who possess similar qualities and also enjoy seeing the positive results of their hard work.
Avoid Overusing Phrases on Your Resume
Though the point isn’t to write an exhilarating action novel, you should talk about your career, your experience, and your value in an interesting and impactful way that uniquely describes you.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of overusing common phrases such as created, developed, managed, handled, coordinated because they mimic the way we speak in everyday conversations.
After multiple uses, they start to lose their integrity, and candidates sometimes try to work around the scenario by defaulting to overly-wordy phrases that say the same thing in a more drawn out way: “Was primarily responsible for the development of…”.
Take a look at the verbiage you use to describe your responsibilities, impact, and qualifications, and ask yourself if there is a choice that sounds more powerful/high level/interesting/etc.
Communicate Simple Ideas in a Powerful Way on Your Resume
Avoid overused resume verbs and replace them with these alternatives to describe your responsibilities and accomplishments:
Use instead of: created, developed, produced
Use to: Convey the idea that you created something that was new and successful, whether that’s a process, guideline, workflow, or product.
Example: “Architected a new manual for training and onboarding new hires.”
Use instead of: improved, organized, coordinated, made more efficient
Use to: Convey the same ideas as the words above, but that in doing so you created greater efficiency or a similar positive impact.
Example (as a verb): “Streamlined the web design process by creating a universal style guide for corporate branding.”
Example (as an adjective): “Created a streamlined process for updating the website by implementing a universal style guide outlining corporate branding guidelines.”
Use instead of: used, utilized, called upon
Use to: Show how you put specific knowledge or skill sets into use to achieve a desired result.
Example: “Leveraged social media marketing skills to create a Facebook advertising campaign that increased monthly website traffic by 75%.”
Use instead of: built (relationships), developed
Use to: Communicate the idea of relationship building from a more strategic angle.
Example: “Cultivated relationships with key retail partners to increase sales and market share.”
Use instead of: experience, focusing on, with knowledge of
Use to: Present supporting information around areas in which you have experience or knowledge and want to emphasize.
Example: “Ten years of project management experience with significant exposure to digital media and mobile platforms.”
Additional Verbs to Make Your Resume Stand Out
- Specializing in
- Focused around
- Recognized for
Language in a Resume
The quality of language and content can make or break your resume, profile or cover letter.
Boring repetitive language will fall short of effectively marketing your key points, while excessive, complex, or drawn out ideas and phrases will sound artificial and like you’re filling space.
The key is to remember that less is often more, and using colorful and descriptive words to communicate your ideas will create a more impactful message around your unique value as a candidate.
A keyword optimized resume will ensure you stand out in today’s ultra-competitive job market. Learn about our resume and branding services.