It’s not Scrabble, but writing resumes is word play

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It’s not exactly Scrabble, Words with Friends, or a crossword puzzle, but writing a good resume does take some word play.

How to play to win with your resume

Thinking as a game, if your resume lists the skills and experience an employer wants, you have passed the first obstacle. You are eligible for the job.

But eligibility doesn’t guarantee you’ll move to the next stage –the interview.

A resume that is just a list of job descriptions won’t give you a competitive advantage.  That’s because many other applicants may have similar experiences.

To give your resume the best chance, you must know this …

At The Bagg Group, we look at resumes through the eyes of our clients – the best companies in the GTA. And whether these employers are hiring for full-time, contract or temporary, they’re always looking for high-achievers.

So your resume needs to show your achievements in your past job(s). That is what will give you a major head-start over the competition.

We know that teasing out and showing achievements in three to five bullet points per job can be tough. It’s tricky, it’s a major challenge, but it’s do-able.

And our expert recruiters have made a list of words below to help you …but first, know the rules of the game.

Here are the rules of the game

  1. Every bullet point you write must show what you accomplished for your employer. What were the results of your action, what problem did you solve?  How will the employer know that you didn’t just do the task, but you did it well?

Tip: If stuck, use this prompt:   “I did _____.(fill in the blank). In doing so, how did I help ______ (fill in the blank – my customers, my team, my employer)?

  1. You need to capture your reader within the first five words of your bullet point. Why? Because research shows most people only read the first five words of a bullet point to decide whether to keep reading or not.

Tip: Lead with a high-energy power word.

Use Power Words for more points

Here’s where building a resume becomes a word game. A good resume writer plays with Power Words.

What’s a power word? 

A power word shows action, energy, and accomplishment. These words give people reason to keep reading.

Scroll down and look for the power words that describe how well you succeeded at a task.

Also, remember to look closely the key words in the job posting and use those too wherever they apply.

Words that show how you moved the needle:

Piloted

Outperformed

Outpaced

Succeeded

Accelerated

Earned

Surpassed

Demonstrated

Attained

Awarded

Redesigned

Invigorated

Strengthened

Revitalized

Streamlined

Transformed

Expanded

Boosted

Gained

Improved

Modernized

Engineered

Developed

Launched

Produced

Coordinated

Optimized

Did you oversee anything? If so, lead with words that show you took charge:

Delegated

Dispatched

Ensured

Monitored

Screened

Verified

Authorized

Inspected

Itemized

Scrutinized

Spearheaded

Orchestrated

Programmed

Modernized

Action words if your job was to promote, communicate, etc:

Authored (or Co-authored)

Briefed

Convinced

Illustrated

Persuaded

Publicized

Promoted

Documented

Campaigned

Counseled

Strategized

Defined

Lobbied

Formulated

Words for showing you improved the customer experience:

Informed

Consulted

Advised

Coached

Educated

Resolved

Related

Did you manage? If so use words that show you move people to action:

 

Mentored

Inspired

Guided

Rallied

Motivated

Directed

Persuaded

United

Aligned

Trained

Of course, you may have other excellent words to use not on this list.  After all, the English language has 171,476 words  (according to the 20-volume Oxford English dictionary).  That said, apparently most of us don’t know more than 20,000 to 35,000 — and we urge you not to use vocabulary that is not generally known.  If people aren’t familiar with a word, or find your writing heavy going, they’ll likely stop reading.

Recruiters at Bagg Professional, Bagg Technology Resources, Bagg @ Your Service, Bagg Managed Resources and Turn Key Staffing Solutions read many thousands of resumes to successfully match high-acheivers with the right full-time, temporary and contract positions.  Check out positions now available on our job board.

The power of the word is in its action.  

Gene Hayden, author of The Follow-Through Factor: Getting from Doubt to Done (Random House), is a career coach and writer-in-residence for The Bagg Group

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