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Language Tips

Think--and write--in terms of accomplishments.
What did you accomplish in a particular position? What responsibilities did you meet? What skills, attributes, or qualities did you demonstrate? What tasks did you perform to meet specific goals?

Use language that tells potential employers you understand their business.
Use the language of the field you are trying to enter whenever possible, especially when describing your work experience. Here are examples of how statements were improved on a resume written for a job in human services:

Before: Worked with people dealing with alcohol related issues.
Better: Counseled clients on issues of alcohol abuse.

Before: Wrote notes on improvements and problems.
Better: Documented progress, ongoing issues, and challenges.

Use active verbs.
Use phrases that begin with active verbs to describe your experience; avoid the passive voice. Start each bullet point with an active verb and use the strongest verb possible. Avoid using first person pronouns (I, me, my) and qualifying words or phrases that diminish the significance of your accomplishments. Examples of phrases starting with active verbs:

  • Managed undergraduate research assistants
  • Analyzed statistical data
  • Co-authored an internship training manual
  • Organized and coordinated a conference on human rights
  • Classified and organized coursework and legal materials
  • Solicited sponsorships from schools in the Five College Consortium

 Need examples of powerful active verbs? Just download the pdf version of this guide.

 

 
 

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