Why Word Choice Is So Important When Building Your Resume | Key Technical Resources, Inc.

Why Word Choice Is So Important When Building Your Resume

July 31, 2020

When you apply for a job, you have one chance to make a great first impression—and if you’re using clichés and vague or boring language to describe your skills and work experience, you won’t stand out from the crowd. That’s not to say that you need to come up with creative job titles like “sanitation manager” instead of “janitor,” but you have the chance to make a powerful impact with the words you choose. Here are tips from a staffing agency in Fort Lauderdale, FL on how to select words for a standout resume.

Why words matter

Hiring managers see hundreds (if not thousands) of resumes for each position. After the first five, they tend to sound the same—everyone tries to emphasize the same applicable skills, and depending on the position, they likely have similar educational experience. If you’re tempted to write phrases like “excellent communication skills” or “can work independently or as part of a team,” you’re falling into the same trap. You should also scratch “thinks outside the box,” “detail-oriented” and “highly motivated”—these phrases are used so often that they’re practically meaningless.

If you really want to stand out—and demonstrate that you actually can think outside the box—it’s time to jazz up your resume.

Choosing active words and phrases makes you stand out

People use the passive voice too often in their resumes. It’s the difference between stating you were responsible for overseeing junior employees, or stating you “initiated an oversight system for junior employees to ensure they were appropriately trained.” The first is a boring description of your duty; the second uses active verbs to subtly show that you are a self-starter who recognizes the importance of understanding the basics from the beginning.

Additionally, rather than making claims like “I’m a self-starter,” which anyone can claim, you should try to identify ways that you demonstrated that quality through your work duties. Don’t say “I’m a problem solver”—show a problem you noticed and describe how you solved it.

Don’t go overboard

On the other hand, it’s easy to go too far in the opposite direction—if you’ve ever cringed at a company that states they’re looking for a “rock star” or “ninja,” or a YouTube personality who told you to “smash that ‘like’ button,” you know exactly what to avoid in your own writing. Resumes are to show a hiring manager that you have the skills and experience necessary to do the job, and overwrought descriptions will make them think you’re exaggerating—even if you’re not. It can also give the impression that you’re not the right cultural fit for the company, particularly if you use purple prose for a traditional job.

Writing resumes is challenging, and it will probably take you several drafts to get it right. If you need help, reach out to friends and family, especially if they have experience as hiring managers. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes is all you need to make your resume stand out in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

A staffing agency like Key Technical Resources, Inc. can help you build your resume for an IT job in the Fort Lauderdale area. For more information, contact us today!

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