Conquer Resume Writing with Powerful Words

Writing resumes is a sticky business for most people. What should be said, and how to say it are often the two most stressful aspects of writing resumes. The various elements of resumes all hold their own important place in career success, but what most people don’t understand is the power of the words that they use. When it comes to writing resumes, how you state your experiences can often mean the difference between catching the reader’s attention and having your resume tossed aside.

The first way that you can use words to help you writing a resume is to focus on keywords from the job listing. These keywords and phrases describe EXACTLY what the employer is looking for, and if you use these words in your resume, you’re more likely to catch their attention. For example:

Human Resources Manager
Payroll experience, familiarity with employee relations, training, and familiarity with hourly status reports, Excel spreadsheets. Must have 2 year degree or higher in business and/or management, with experience in Accounting. Minimum five years experience with employee base over 100.

From this listing, you can gather about five or six different words and phrases that you can use on your resume to catch the attention of the reader. For example, under your skills section, you can list the following:

  •     Payroll experience
  •     Employee training/relationships
  •     Excel use
  •     Accounting experience
  •     Work with 100+ employees

This will make your task of writing resumes much simpler, as it creates a focus for the reader, and shows two things: your ability to pay attention, and your dedication to following the rules and meeting requirements.

Another way to use words to your advantage when writing resumes is to focus on what are known as power words. This simply means revising your resume so that the language you use is more attention grabbing. There are ways to say things that are better than others, but you want to make sure you’re still being direct and not wordy in your resume.

For example, instead of this:

Gave assessments to employees, handed out paychecks, tracked company hours.

Say this:

Responsible for employee assessments, payroll processing, and hourly tracking and reporting.

You can see how much better the latter sounds to a prospective employer. It’s still direct, but changing a few words and the way you say things can make all the difference in the world.

Whether it’s through using more powerful words or simply utilizing the keywords in the job listing, you can make a much greater impression on the hiring manager that reads your resume with something as simple as your words. There are other elements of your resume that need to be polished as well, but the words that you use when writing resumes might very well make the difference in whether your resume gets the attention it deserves. When you sit down to write your resume, keep these things in mind, and give your resume the boost it needs by using keywords and power words to display your experience.


Gail Esparan