I was helping a client with his resume the other day and I started to ponder how important are individual words in the scope of a job search. The answer, it turns it, is quite a bit. You have probably heard the saying, that a picture is worth a 1,000 words, and that is exactly what you are doing when you send out a resume.
The most effective resumes are those that quickly and concisely paint a strong picture of your best “professional self”, by using strong adjectives and career highlights. Depending on which career expert you ask, the average Human Resource professional spends approximately 45 seconds to 2 minutes per resume they review. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 68% of managers spend less than 2 minutes reviewing a resume. This incredibly short period of time does not give you much real estate to make a strong and impactful impression on your audience.
One of the biggest ways to get your resume thrown into the wastebasket is by using superlatives that are vague and nebulous. If it can’t be quantified or qualified in a short sentence or two, do not include it. Here are some overused buzzwords to avoid using on your resume CareerBuilder: Best of the breed, Go-getter, Think outside the box, Synergy, Go-to person, Value add, Results driven, Team player and Bottom line.
Instead, recruiters prefer to see specific action words that are easily quantifiable. For example, “I increased my sales volume by XX% year over year.” This statement is simple and straightforward and doesn’t utilize any fluffy verbiage. Here are some action verbs that employers prefer to see according to CareerBuilder: Achieved, Improved, Trained, Mentored, Managed, Created, Resolved and Volunteered.
The cold, hard reality is that you don’t have a lot of time to impress your prospective employer, so pick your words carefully. They can and will make all the difference in your job hunt.