Why you should be using strong action verbs on your cv or resume
This is where using positive keywords can make all the difference.
For career changers, one of the main tips on writing a resume must be to use positive action verbs. This is because you may well be trying to focus the reader’s attention on your transferable skills to demonstrate your ability to move to a new career area.
CV power words like established, succeeded, presented, initiated all add weight and impact to your application.
Why are these keywords so important?
they just make the cv sound so much more positive and active and generate a stronger impression of you, the applicant. Remember that most resumes have about 30 seconds spent on the first reading, so you do not have long to grab the reader’s attention.
The purpose of your resume is to draw the recruiter in and make them want to read your application carefully – and then like you enough to shortlist you for interview.
Using positive words means that your resume has an upbeat, dynamic feel to it which will be much more effective than a simple description of what you have done.
Try to avoid woolly generalisations like ‘I worked in…’, or ‘I was responsible for…’
For example, look at the following:
Weak – I worked in the customer services team.
Better – Handled over 100 enquiries per day efficiently and politely maintaining customer goodwill when resolving complaints.
Weak – I was responsible for monthly statistical returns.
Better – Collated data from seven departments and produced succinct statistical summaries for the management team on a monthly basis.
Notice that in the improved versions, the writing becomes more ‘telegram style’, which means sentences do not all begin with ‘I’. The positive action verb comes at the beginning of each sentence and so has much more
It also shows a future employer that you have a good command of the English language if you can bring a bit of variety into the language you use on your resume.
This means that the first assessment of your CV is not even a pair of human eyes – it is done by a computer. The system will be set up to look for keywords which they have defined as important, so you need to use words that will please the computer.
How do you do know which words to use?
First of all, read the job description and person specification very carefully. You will probably find that there are key terms there that will give you clues.
For example, are they looking for someone who is proactive, good in a team, able to cope with pressure?
These are all hints which should lead you to a very careful choice of words as you describe your relevant experience. Make sure that you select resume keywords which will demonstrate that you have got the skills and qualities they have mentioned in the job description.
CV action words or keywords
Not sure what resume keywords to use? There are very many you could try, but make sure you pick ones that fit in with the company requirements. And make sure that they match the tone of your cv.
Here is a selection to get you thinking.
Using a relevant selection of these resume keywords will go a long way in helping you to ensure that your application really ‘hits the spot’ with recruiters and will give you a much better chance of getting on to the next crucial stage of your career change or job search – the interview!