Your resume is the first point of contact you’ll make with a potential employer, so it’s important to make yours stand out from the pack. By keeping it short and using a clean, easy-to-read layout, you’ll make a strong impression, but there are some other things you can do to grab an interviewer’s attention.
You’ve probably heard about resume action words – but what are they? Why do they work? And how can you use them effectively to score an interview and hopefully even land your dream job?
What is an action word?
Simply put, action words show what physical or mental action the subject is taking. These words are what take your sentence from passive to active. Using passive voice makes sentences more difficult to read, and can seem unprofessional to prospective employers. For a stronger, more powerful sentence, place the object after the verb – instead of before.
Examples of strong action words to include in your resume include words like:
You can see from this list that these words provide significant information about your capabilities, which is what makes them so effective.
Why do action words work?
Using words like this in your resume can help give an interviewer a better understanding of what you will bring to the table – what skills and experience you have that would be an asset to the company. These words can help highlight your achievements and allow potential employers to see the results you’ve accomplished throughout your work or academic history.
These words are also a more direct way of explaining your past responsibilities and accomplishments, and can help you cut down on fluff words that employers don’t want to see. By using more dynamic language, you’ll be able to use fewer words to get your point across – and it will make a much more impressive impact.
How can I use them effectively?
To get an idea of what kind of action words a potential employer wants to see, take another look at the job posting and make note of which verbs are used in the job description. Try to cater your resume to fit that profile while remaining true to your own abilities.
Generally, there will be certain action words that will be more regularly used by certain industries or fields, so look for verbs and phrases that suit the kind of work you’re hoping to do. However, some more generalized words can also be effective, showing your versatility and highlighting skill sets that can be useful in a variety of situations.
To check and see if your resume uses passive voice, add the words “by zombies” after the verb in your sentence. Instead of saying “customer retention rates were increased by 17 per cent,” which would still make logical sense if you added “by zombies,” say “increased customer retention rates by 17 per cent.” Or, to make even more of an impact, give yourself credit for the action – “my team increased customer retention rates by 17 per cent.”