Everyone knows that resumes need to be written in a formal style, but how much does the specific use of language come into play? Much more than you’d think!
Given below are four tips that can help you use the right language for your resume.
Keep the language simple
It may seem like a good idea to stuff your resume with your complete professional life, but the truth is that less is more when it comes to resume writing. Remember that the aim of a resume is to communicate the most important points of your professional profile to a recruiter with just a quick look. Large blocks of text and long sentences should be avoided at all costs.
Here’s an example of a long-winded sentence to avoid:
- Received new client accounts after developing relationships with key market players, thereby generating $2 million in revenue and promoting the growth of the company
Although the specific achievements have been stated, the sentence itself wastes too many words in talking about it. Instead, the following would be a much better alternative:
- Generated $2 million in revenue by receiving new client accounts
The number of words is cut in half, but the meaning conveyed remains the same.
Avoid bloated statements
As mentioned before, resumes need to be clear and simple, so you must avoid using complicated language. It is fine to use technical terms when trying to reduce the length of a sentence, but do not use them just for the sake of usage.
Fancy words and popular jargon have no place in a clear and concise resume. Your list of achievements has to be trimmed down as well so that your resume consists only of what is important. The achievements you write have to be related to the job you are applying for.
Here’s another example of what to avoid:
- Integrated and implemented a superior customer relations management system in order to promote the improvement of positive client feedback, thereby resulting in an increased positive feedback of 100 percent.
As you can see, the above sentence is stuffed with technical jargon that is not required. A streamlined version of this sentence would be:
- Set up a new CRM that improved customer satisfaction rates by 100 percent.
All the useless jargon has been filtered out, but the term CRM has been used in a good way to keep the sentence simple but understandable.
Use specific details
You must always be specific about the achievements and experience you write on your resume. You need to stand out among other candidates, and writing generic statements defeats this purpose. Hard facts and numbers are useful, and percentages more so because the numbers you achieved while in one company may be small for a larger company where you are applying. Percentages, on the other hand, give a better idea of your achievements irrespective of the company size.
Here is an example of a generic sentence that holds no value in a resume:
- Logged and allocated customer inquiries to appropriate personnel on a daily basis.
Here is the same sentence with hard numbers:
- Processed 40 customer inquiries on average on a daily basis and allocated it to appropriate personnel.
Now, a larger company may not think of 40 inquiries per day as a large number, so here is a percentage figure:
- Processed 20 percent more than the daily quota of customer inquiries in line with the company’s customer-centric reputation
Going 20 percent higher than the daily quota of processed customer inquiries can be appreciated by any prospective employer, regardless of company size.
Use Active Voice and First person
The active voice has always been advocated for resumes, and rightfully so. This particular method of writing has proven to be exceptionally useful for writing powerful resumes because the active voice is more forceful and powerful, and it places you at the center of each sentence. Moreover, active voice helps in reducing the number of words and keeping the resume clean and simple.
Similarly, you can also make your resume more powerful by writing statements in first person. It is not necessary to keep the pronoun in the beginning though, since most recruiters understand it otherwise and it saves space on your resume.
About the Author: Erik Larson is a master’s level career counselor and has been recognized as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) through the National Board for Certified Counselors. You can check out his site at ResumeIndex.com