Your resume serves as your introduction to the hiring manager and can make or break your chance for a personal interview. Use our helpful guide and list of expert tips to learn how the proper use of strong action verbs helps create the perfect resume.
Perfect Resume Tips
1. Plan the Overall Theme
Before submitting your resume, go over the job listing and choose action verbs to address all the items in the description. For example, a resume for a management position should include verbs such as delegated, inspired, and coordinated.
2. Fine-Tune Action Verbs
Choose your action verbs carefully and make sure they relate to both the industry and position for which you are applying. Even within a given industry, you should use "conceptualized" for a creative position and "calculated" for a technical job.
3. Be Specific
Carefully choose action verbs to describe your specific skills as they relate to the job requirements. Examples of specific verbs are: engineered, tutored, and coded.
4. Don't Repeat
Prevent all your bullet points from sounding similar by using verbs that convey unique information. Differentiate organizational tasks with words such as scheduled, collected, and processed.
5. Write Clear, Concise Bullets
Strike a balance between providing precise information and being as brief as possible. Use "communicated" to encompass several ordinary tasks such as answering phones and sending emails.
6. Describe Accomplishments
Use action verbs such as directed, updated, and executed to describe your completed projects rather than listing the duties of previous jobs.
7. Use Keywords
Many online job application sites use automated processes to screen resumes for keywords relating to the job listing. Make sure your resume includes keywords along with relevant action words. For example, a resume for an IT job should include words such as programmed and operated.
8. Be Honest
Portray yourself and your qualifications in a positive light but don't exaggerate or lie on your resume. You shouldn't misrepresent your teamwork experience by using "directed" when "participated" would be more accurate.
Proofreading is essential for a perfect resume. Make sure there are no typos or grammatical errors. Other things to check for are passive voice, repetition, and vague bullet points. You should also double check similar action verbs to make sure you choose the best one. For example, "initiated" is a stronger choice than "started."
10. Verify Consistency
Before submitting your resume, read over the whole thing to verify a consistent narrative. Make sure all your verbs point toward the job requirements and overall theme. For example, "collaborated" works better than "discussed" for a technical job because of the scientific connotation.
But Don't Make These Mistakes
The perfect resume follows positive guidelines while also avoiding common mistakes. Here are some helpful examples:
1. "Provided oversight for team members." While this does begin with an action verb, it's not the strongest statement. The words "oversaw" or "managed" would work better.
2. "Assisted executives with various tasks including phone calls, travel arrangements, scheduling, note-taking, and other administrative duties." This is too much unnecessary information and writing every bullet this way leads to resumes with multiple pages. State things as concisely as possible.
3. "Completed administrative tasks." While the previous example was too wordy, this one is too vague. It doesn't convey any specific information or relate to relevant parts of a job description.
4. "Quickly resolved customer issues according to company policy." It can be tempting to use modifiers (such as "quickly") but this actually lessens the impact of the action verb.