More than Words: Do this one thing to make your resume stick.
Every month, hundreds or thousands of resume gets dropped into the Inbox of Human Resource or recruitment officers.
A lot of these resumes look the same.
They claim to be “pro-active”, “industrious”, have “great communication skills” or a “team player”.
Words that come naturally but actually irk a lot of recruiters.
More important than that, if your resumes have these words, it would make it look normal. Average. Basic.
And in a world where attention is at a premium, average would never get the attention of the recruiter. Especially when they have to filter through thousands of applications.
So here’s a list of keywords to cut from your resume.
“References upon request”, “To Whom It May Concerned”, “Duties/Responsibilities include…”, “Results-Driven”, “People Person”, “Passionate”, “Dynamic, “Self Starter”, “Fast Learner”, “Self Motivated”, “Dedicated”, “Hard Worker”, “Go-To Person”, “Synergy”, “Think out of the box”
So what kinds of words should you use in your resume?
1. Words that show you actually make a difference
When recruiters review your resume, they want to know about how you can contribute or value add to the organisation. What do you offer that they won’t already have? So you would want to share keywords that show that you have actually made an experience, or generated a result.
So words like action verbs :
“Generated”, “Created”, “Achieved”, “Managed”, “Improved”, “Established”, “Resolved”, “Increased/Decreased”, “Launched”, “Designed”, “Initiated”
2. Words that show a specific quality rather than a general descriptor
So instead of using that you’re a “Team Player”, share in specific what did you do as a team player. Compare and contrast this
“I was a team player that helped to generate social media content for our audience”
“As part of a team, I created compelling 6 seconds videos about the product on offer that helped to generate increased eyeballs on the social media channels”
3. Use Key Words that appear in the Job Listing or Job Description”
Most organisations use an applicant tracking system- a machine to scan your resume for keywords. And these keywords are the ones that most appear in their job listing or even on their website. So remember to refer to the words that most appear in their job description and intentionally use it. Most importantly, it shows that you have the skills, attitudes and experiences that are most required for the job.
One resource you can leverage on to identify these keywords would be Cultivated Culture’s Job Description Scanner:
All you have to do is copy and paste the “Job Description” into the box and they give you ready-made words and phrases to immediately use!
4. Complement your Words with Numbers
You cannot run away from the fact that numbers do count. Is it better to say “I helped to generate sales to meet the company’s quarterly targets” or “I managed to consistently turn over a 10 percent increase in revenue for every sales quarter”? So use numbers to actually quantify your achievements. The numbers are the proof in the pudding of your value.
Here are some numbers you can consider :
Sales/Revenue Percentage Increases
Percentage/Ratio of Sales Conversions
Eyeballs/Engagement reached on media channels
Numbers of audience participation