Resume Writing Tip #6 – Optimizing Your Word Selection

This is critical, especially the action verbs that you choose to use.  For example, if you accomplished some particular objective, why use a verb like “met” when you could use “achieved” or “exceeded” instead?  Also, typically you should start out each sentence with an appropriate verb rather than hide the verb in the middle of the sentence.  Consider the following:

Good management verbs

  • Directed
  • Managed
  • Oversaw
  • Led
  • Supervised
  • Assigned
  • Chaired
  • Founded

Good administrative verbs

  • Designed
  • Developed
  • Established
  • Negotiated
  • Executed
  • Implemented

Good accomplishment verbs

  • Achieved
  • Exceeded
  • Closed

Good adjectives to describe yourself (cover letter, etc)

  • Resourceful
  • Innovative
  • Action-oriented
  • Self-motivated
  • Creative

Good words to describe your soft skills

  • Negotiate
  • Persuade
  • Prioritize
  • Collaborate
  • Mentor
  • Delegate
  • Troubleshoot

Try to avoid (too passive)

  • Participated
  • Facilitated
  • Arranged
  • Influenced
  • Analyzed
  • Responsible for (except for the typical sentence immediately under your job titles that explain what you were responsible for)

See the rest of my series on Resume Writing here.   I also have a related series for Job Hunting and one for Interviewing.

Author: Gordon Daugherty

Gordon Daugherty is a best-selling author, seasoned business executive, entrepreneur, startup advisor and investor. He has made more than 200 investments in early-stage companies and has been involved with raising more than $80 million in growth and venture capital. From his 28-year career in high tech, Gordon has both an IPO and a $200-million acquisition exit under his belt. Now, as co-founder and president of Austin’s Capital Factory and as author of the book “Startup Success”, Gordon spends 100 percent of his time educating, advising, and investing in startups.

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