3 Ways to Make Verbs Work in Your Resume

March 14th, 2013 | Resume | No Comments »


Verbs are important to the power packed within your resume, so follow these tips & you will grab the attention of numerous hiring managers.

Though they may never read like a blockbuster action film, your resume & cover letter should still engage the interest of hiring managers through your shrewd use of evocative verbs. One of the main goals of these application documents, in addition to highlighting your talents, is to infer that you are an active employee who can bring great change to the hiring manager’s team. That requires smart, strategic verb usage. So, to amplify the power of your overall application, here are a few tips that will give your writing that extra pop.

1.) Stick to simple verb tenses. In the application format, verbs are most effective when they are simple & concise. That is why you should strictly stick to the simple past tense when you describe previous jobs & the simple present tense when you describe your current job.

For example, look at the simple past phrase “I supervised a compact team,” vs. the alternative phrase: “I was supervising a compact team.” The former implies that you brought your task to a successful completion while the latter implies that your duties might have been interrupted or relinquished after a period of time. Hiring managers do not need doubt added to the mix when other candidates & factors can already derail your chances at an interview. So, keep them on a diet of simple verbs and you will help them digest your positive, simple conclusions.

2.) Always select verbs with clear meanings. English is a robust language with thousands of verbs (not to mention words, period) at the disposal of those who speak it. That in mind, don’t waste your time with verbs that are bland & ambiguous. Always use your resume & cover letter to make declarations that create a distinct image.

If the verb “ran” was used in place of the verb “supervised” in the above example, the positive effect would have been diminished. “To run a compact team” lacks finesse and fails to convey the full extent of your responsibility. By depicting your former actions in a resonant way, you help the hiring manager to create a clear mental picture of what challenges you can handle in his or her company.

3.) Keep a thesaurus handy. No verb should ever be tossed in either your resume or cover letter in a haphazard way. Use a dictionary and a thesaurus to assure yourself that you have used the most appropriate verb for the actions you are trying to convey. If a hiring manager detects any verb misusage in your application, they may question your attention to detail before you even get a shot at an interview.

Ultimately, your verb choices are a pivotal part of your introductory interaction with hiring managers. If you make the right choices, you can give yourself an air of confidence & clarity that gets across the message of your unrivaled talent. If you neglect this important part of speech, the message you send may be weak & uncertain, robbing you of your chance to make a splash in a new career. So, review & revise the verbs in your resume and give yourself a fighting chance!

by James Walsh

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