Improve Language and Descriptive Words in Your Resume

descriptive words for resumeIt can be enough of a challenge to get all the necessary information about your past experience, accomplishments and skillset into your resume that it’s easy to forget to pay attention to the language you are using.  Since your resume is a document that drives the future of your career, it is worth taking a close-up at every word you use in it to see how effectively they will engage the reader.  Using words on your resume that are more descriptive and specific to describe your job responsibilities can make all the difference in whether or not a potential employer will keep reading.  Here is how to make sure your resume contains the right language and descriptive words that properly fits the value you will bring to the job:

  • Skip general, over-used expressions

These include terms such as “team player”, “detail-oriented” and “self-starter”.  Anyone can say these things about themselves, but hiring managers want to see why and how you have come to earn such accolades.   So instead give more specific accomplishments from past jobs that show your skills in action.

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  • Never hesitate to use numbers

Nothing will better show your accomplishments than solid figures, especially ones that include dollar and percentage signs.  Instead of simply stating that you increased sales at a company, go the extra mile to give the exact amount, or rough estimate of the amount.

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  • Trade dull job description verbs for more vivid resume action verbs

As a novel keeps the reader’s attention better when the descriptive words provoke more imagery and excitement, the same goes for the language on a resume.  Instead of using dull, more general verbs such as “did” and “performed”, some of the attention-grabbing action verbs hiring managers like to see on resumes include “executed”, “created” and “influenced”.  Also, to better describe how you carried out your responsibilities, it helps to include descriptive adverbs on your resume such as “assertively”, “effectively”, “steadily” and “thoroughly”.  For more examples of resume action words, click here.

Below is an example of what would be considered a more dull description of someone’s job duties:

“Planned internal company events.  Coordinated with multiple departments to fill volunteer roles.”

And below is the same description, with more action verbs and specific numbers to better show what was accomplished on the resume:

“Launched engaging internal company events to boost employee morale and brand-building.  Negotiated with multiple departments to increase volunteer participation by 40%.”

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  • Consider changing former job titles

Some of the titles used for your past positions may not properly capture your accomplishments and level of responsibility, so don’t sell yourself short.   Do some research to find job titles commonly used to describe what your role entailed.  This can also give your resume better keywords.

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  • Pay close attention to your nouns as well

While you want to make sure you are using better verbs and adverbs, the most important aspect of the language in your resume is that you use the right nouns for your skills, since those are the keywords that hiring managers will search for in their resume search engine to find candidates for the job.   For example, skills such as “e-mail marketing” and “JavaScript” are likely to be keywords used in the resume for specific jobs, instead of an action verb that says how these skills were carried out.  Be familiar with the nouns currently used in the industry and job description, and be sure to include them in your resume.

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Jessica Cody

Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.

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