by Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC
Everyone knows a resume is not the go-to source for entertaining reading material, but if you put in the effort to make your resume more interesting, you may also land a job faster in the process! The key to making your resume a proverbial page-turner is by using powerful language. Gaining the hiring manager’s interest prior to the interview can be done with a few simple tweaks your resume.
Start with Your Strengths
Although many job seekers still want to start the resume with an objective, this is a sure-fire way to stop the hiring manager from reading your resume. The objective emphasizes your goals, not what you can do for the company. By starting with your strengths, you immediately get the reader’s attention because he or she is able to see you performing specific tasks for the company. Incorporate your track record in the initial summary for maximum power and efficiency in your resume.
Consider using phrases such as “key contributor with broad experience creating procedural systems from the ground up” or “significant strengths to rapidly identify and resolve challenges, while delivering high-level customer service”. Phrases like these convey strengths you bring to the position and allow the hiring manager to see exactly how you can contribute to the company.
As you revise your resume, compare your skills with the requirements in the job description for the new position. Those position requirements are going to help you emphasize parts of your job history that most closely mirror the skills needed for the job. Highlight skills needed for the job, but do so honestly. Don’t risk losing your opportunity for an interview by over-representing yourself.
An effective strategy for presenting your skills is through the use of lists with action words. Quantify your accomplishments and use powerful language to communicate your strengths clearly and succinctly to the hiring manager. Look at the example below – it clearly presents a candidate who makes things happen!
• Increased sales $5K monthly while maintaining high levels of quality and safety.
• Expanded business 10% skillfully developing relationships with diverse clients.
• Captured $10K in savings by creating a comprehensive tracking spreadsheet.
Use Core Competencies
Including core competencies is one of the most effective tools you can use. Not only can core competencies be critical in pulling your resume out of the pile by increasing the odds of being recognized by electronic searches, but it also provides hiring managers a quick understanding of your skills. Review the strengths easily identified in the list of core competencies below.
Business Intelligence • Internal/External Relationship Management • Inventory Control
Database & Tracking Systems • Budget Administration • Technology Applications
Avoid Repetitive Language
It’s easy to get in a rut by using the same words repeatedly throughout the resume. A couple of key culprits include “managed” and “supervised”. Even if you have to pull out the old thesaurus to help you come up with more interesting language – do it! Most word processing programs also have thesaurus functions that help you keep the reader interested by using different words. In our example, you might substitute “directed” for “managed” or “monitored” instead of “supervised”.
Your goal is to keep the hiring manager interested in your resume – that means you need for the reader to make it through the entire document and still want to know more about you. The only way for the hiring manager to quench that thirst for more knowledge about you is to call for an interview. Use interesting language even if you don’t see yourself as a writer.
As you read through your resume, gauge how interesting it is and how your skills are projected. Powerful language can move you to the top of the list for qualified candidates. Choose your words carefully to set yourself apart from the competition and achieve results! Now go out there and toot your own horn!