Imagine you're the person on the receiving end of 300 resumes and you have to read through each one to find just the right candidate(s) for your vacancy. You've read the same cliched phrases more times than you can count, and all the resumes start to blur together. The other side of the coin is, if you're one of the folks vying for that job, you need to make your resume stand out so the hiring manager won't just dump yours in the circular file with all the other cookie cutter resumes. Use strong, powerful verbs to describe your accomplishments and experience.
Anyone can write a resume using the same tired old phrases: "I was on the sales committee;" "Worked on the Smith project;" and "Responsible for division reports." Boring, right? More importantly, this kind of language doesn't really tell a potential employer much about what you actually did. Were you the project lead or the note-taker on the Smith project? Did you write, edit and deliver the annual division reports, or was your responsibility to collate the pages? Nothing in these boring resume entries is going to wow a hiring official.
Use verbs in your resume that provide shape and form to your accomplishments. Anyone can be part of a team or contribute to a project. Instead, state your specific role -- "Led a team of 10 to complete major client project" or "Organized and analyzed data from 20 sites to identify sales trends" are far more impressive than the generic "I was there" type of resume entries. Also include words that reflect your unique capabilities to perform a given task, such as "Was chosen from among 20 co-workers to head up new client division." Think in terms of taking initiative, such as "led," "managed" and "directed."
Quantify Your Accomplishments
Make your use of action verbs more compelling to a prospective employer by quantifying your accomplishments. "Led the team" is more effective as a resume bullet than "Was on the team," but "Led the team to 150 percent increased sales over previous year" is even more effective. Or use the quantifying term as your action verb: "Increased sales by 150 percent over previous year as head of Sales Division." Consider verbs such as "improved," "expanded" and "enhanced" to help a hiring manager understand the positive benefits of your actions.
Think about how you tell friends about something you've accomplished -- "I rocked that presentation yesterday!" or "I really kicked butt with that last monthly report." While those particular words, when written, may not leave a potential employer with exactly the image you're after, think about their written equivalents and use them in your resume. Convince a new firm to hire you by using verbs that identify you as a problem-solver who gets results: "streamlined;" "initiated;" "created;" and "developed" come to mind.
As a national security analyst for the U.S. government, Molly Thompson wrote extensively for classified USG publications. Thompson established and runs a strategic analysis company, is a professional genealogist and participates in numerous community organizations.Thompson holds degrees from Wellesley and Georgetown in psychology, political science and international relations.