Words and phrases that minimize the “punch” that your accomplishments make end up diminishing your document’s overall effectiveness. Many of my colleagues have eschewed the use of the phrase “Responsible for” for this very reason.
I’d like to add another word that you should seriously consider cutting out of your résumé:
as in “Demonstrated [insert generic skill here] by blah, blah, blah.”
I know your reaction may be to scratch your head in confusion. Isn’t it a good thing to say that you, for example, demonstrated leadership and then explain how you did that?
You do want to include keywords that reflect the skills set needed for the position and values that resonate with the company. However, using the word “demonstrated” isn’t the best way to get your point across. Here are some things to think about:
1. Cut to the chase and list your accomplishment.
Say that you work in a retail store and mentored others in their techniques, resulting in a 23% growth in sales for the department. You don’t necessarily need to say that you “demonstrated leadership.” The quality of the accomplishment speaks for itself. Simply say:
“Led 23% growth in department sales by mentoring six junior-level colleagues on effective sales techniques.”
It’s much more to the point and packs a punch.
2. Saying you “demonstrated X skill” is starting to be a bit cliché.
Hiring managers are so used to hearing/reading that phrase that they may start to tune out before they reach the good stuff! Don’t add language that would cause them to make the assumption that they’ve already heard/seen it.
3. Find other ways to include keywords connected to your skills in your profile.
Continuing with the previous example of the candidate who works in retail, his/her profile could work in the keyword “leadership” by saying:
“Cultivate leadership skills as key member of the Sales Strategy Committee.”
While it may sound similar to “demonstrate,” the use of the word “cultivate” is better because it is a stronger word. Something that is cultivated is evolving and growing. Something demonstrated is static, stuck in that moment. Which would you rather have associated with you?
4. Have a listing of skills that are important to what you do, paired with an accomplishment that shows the unique value you bring with you on the job.
Because keywords that mirror a job description are used as part of a smart strategy for getting noticed, you want to fit the in somewhere. This kind of summary is good for providing a brief snapshot of the qualities a prospective employer can expect from you. But you can also jazz it up a little by having listing the skill, then following it up with an associated action.
In that way, you show that you have applied the skills you say you have in real-world situations and gotten results from said application. As well, you make it easier for the reader to take it in. Here’s an example from a résumé I wrote for a woman who was looking to get a promotion from a part-time bank teller position to a full-time supervisory role:
In my client’s case, her knowledge of the community was a very valuable skill that benefited both the bank and its patrons! Combining the keywords with a specific activity in this way made her unique contribution very clear — and helped land her the promotion.
How else can you make your résumé clearer and more direct?
Image courtesy of KaCey97078
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