Your resume should provide a “word-picture” of your background, experiences and results. The phrase “word-picture” is the key to differentiate you from everyone else when competing for the same job. Word-pictures need to project action and results, not activities. Here are some examples:
WEAK WORDS – Words you should avoid, as they don’t specify the “what” or “how”.
- Results oriented – What does that really mean? It sounds like someone marketing themselves without results. The hiring manager wants to know what you’ve actually accomplished, not generic words of praise.
- Forward thinking – This is a meaningless comment. How do you measure or prove this claim? When the hiring manager says, “Give me some examples to demonstrate forward thinking”, what do you say?
- Responsible for – This is one of the key mistakes of weak words in a resume. Most everyone else will have had the same responsibilities in a job class. What the hiring manager wants to know is, “What are you going to do for me better than all others?”.
- Maintained – Another weak word. Hiring managers want someone who can grow the function, create better results and be more effective, not just maintain the status quo.
- Proposed – This is someone who has no results to offer, only ideas of something that may or may not work. A terrible word for a resume looking for a higher-level job.
- Excellent ______ (fill in the word like: Communicator, worker, team member, analyst, producer) These should be the words from your references, not from you.
- Accomplished – Unless you have documented metrics to back it up, better to leave it off your resume.“An accomplished employee” without results is cause for rejection.
STRONG WORDS – These are words that attract the attention of hiring managers. It’s what they’re looking for in a new hire, with metrics to prove it:
- Improved – Demonstrate that you can make the function better. Tell your story of improving performance, results or efficiencies. However, include the numbers.
- Directed – A word that describes leadership. It shows you were in charge of something, gave direction, strategy and results.
- Managed – Shows that you were responsible for the process of a result. You were the one that brought the necessary resources together to achieve an outcome.
- Contributed – A less strong word but shows that you were a part of a successful team effort or were a part of a larger result as in: “Contributed 10.8% revenue increase as a part of a new product increase of 24.2% company-wide”
- Increased/Reduced – One of most powerful words coupled with numbers as in: “Increased productivity 3.8% through process improvement”, or “Reduced the cost of goods by 4.7% by consolidating vendors for quantity discounts”.
- Led – Usually connected to a team effort as in: “Led a cross-functional team to analyze business opportunities to add incremental sales of existing products”
- Achieved – Shows an individual effort that would be recognized as an outstanding effort.
These items should be the backbone of your resume. Use them well
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