Did you know that it takes a recruiter less than 10 seconds of scanning through your resume before deciding if you’re a good fit for the position you’re applying for? When that’s the case, you’ll want to make sure your resume stands out.
One way to do this is to have a resume that really counts – which means, crafting just about the perfect resume by using the right words. With so little time to impress your recruiter, you don’t want to use terms that make the person reading it cringe. Instead, you want to come across as a super exciting person on paper that matches your just-as-stellar personality in real life.
So what words do you leave out? Here are some tips.
#1 Omit filler words
Filler words in resumes are as good as you going “uhhm”, “well”, “ah-huh”. They don’t do add any value to what you’re saying and make you sound redundant. In your resume, words like “team player”, “strong work ethics”, “reliable”, “experienced” would be the equivalent of these filler words.
When recruiters see these words, they don’t really get any additional information about you that would make them decide that they want to learn more about your capabilities. Instead, they just see typical words they get on almost all resumes, which equals to blah.
#2 Forget about weak action verbs
Think words like “responsible for”, “managed”, “assisted with” will score points with the hiring manager? Think again. These are often classified as weak action verbs because well, they are not exactly very inspiring and therefore can be quite boring to read. Besides, they are also overused in resumes – you don’t want to be like everyone else, right?
Do this instead – think of strong action verbs that paint a more impressive picture. These are powerful words that describe your capabilities and accomplishments. Instead of “helped”, use “coached” or “assessed”. Instead of “managed”, try “directed”, “guided” and “mentored”.
Want more ideas? Check out Harvard Law School’s list of resume action verbs to use.
#3 Leave the past behind
It’s ok to talk about your high school accomplishments if this is your first job but if you’re way past being a newbie and looking for a more managerial role, then forget the past and focus on the present instead, eh? Highlight your accomplishments from your current role, not when you were captain of your school’s debate team. Employers are going to want to know what you’ve accomplished recently, not something 10 years ago.
#4 Say no to obvious words
You know the ones that you’re tempted to use in your resume – “hardworking”, “independent”, “ambitious”, “results-driven” and “punctual”. Well, obviously you are all of these things. Otherwise, why are you applying for the job?
#5 Check your spelling!
Telling the hiring manager that you are “ambicious” is one way to not get a return call. Bad spelling should never appear on your resume so read it numerous times, print it and then read it again or get someone else to read it. One misspelled word can completely sink your chances of an interview, even if you have all the right chops.
#6 Bye bye mundane skills
Look, everybody knows Microsoft Office. Or if you are applying for a design job, you’re expected to know Photoshop. These are not skills; they are a given. Instead, focus on skills that will make you stand out or are relatable to the position you’re applying for, like a language skill or Java.
And unless you truly are an expert (like you’re capable of coaching someone of that skill or give talks about it), steer clear of saying you’re one.