You never get a second chance to make a first impression, which is why you must choose your words carefully in your resume and cover letter. Fill your documents with action words, keywords from the job description and descriptive terms that make an impact with recruiters and hiring managers. Take a look at how to improve your chances of getting a call back with these word-usage tips.
Start With Action Words
Action words go beyond typical resume verbiage. Use words such as "managed," "maximized," "improved," "achieved" or "increased." These verbs are ideal for describing hard skills and experiences that former supervisors can verify. For example, you can state that as an IT supervisor, you "managed a team of five people who maximized the company's internal technology budget"
Action words come into play with your soft skills, too. Narrow down four top-level soft skills that most employers look for, regardless of the industry. For example, the soft skills can be leadership, communication, collaboration and creativity. The words "developed" and "initiated" are good ones to use to showcase your leadership skills, while the words "generated" and "accomplished" can highlight how you collaborated with a team to get results.
Mine the Job Description
Use action words along with terms or statements used by the company in the job description to grab a hiring manager's attention. For example, if the job description states that you need at least five years of sales experience in a supervisory role, state that you "Increased 5 percent quarter-over-quarter growth for five years while supervising a team of 12 salespeople."
Throw in Some Descriptive Verbs
Descriptive terms, when used in a way to highlight actions you took as an employee, paint a more vivid picture for a hiring manager. Rather than saying you "worked with a team of 15 people to make the company more efficient," say you "Decreased inefficiencies by 32 percent in six months by automating the firm's customer service module." Although the word "decreased" may have a negative connotation in some sense, the word describes precisely what you did for six months on the job. Also, the word "decreased" sounds a lot better than "worked on" or "helped."
Ditch Empty Adjectives
Avoid empty adjectives, such as "interesting" or "outstanding." These words do not describe what you accomplished for a previous employer or what you can do in your new position. In addition, you cannot provide hard data about being an "interesting" or "outstanding" person, so these words add no value to your document.
Action words create a vibrant description that show how you made an impact in previous positions, which typically leads to heightened interest from hiring managers. What are some of your favorite action verbs to put in a resume to capture a hiring manager's attention?
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