Put some zip in your resume or cover letter

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#1
Every day, it seems, I read another resume where the writer says "good worker" - Is that to weed out employers who are looking for bad workers?;)

If I roll my eyes and aim for the circular file or "delete" button, what must happen with the person who has to read several hundred of these every day?

The plain fact is that blah words and overused, meaningless adjectives and verbs do little to advance one's candidacy and may be the kiss of death in many cases. There may be some employers who want dull, drab workers who have zero initiative and never color outside the lines, but most employers want someone who can help them move forward, not march in place for all eternity.

In the Quality profession, we've been making a big deal for years about the difference between anecdotal evidence and documented evidence. If a candidate writes "motivated," what effect does he expect that word makes on the person reading the resume or cover letter? I suspect the guy is motivated because his funds are running low - unscrupulous employers might take advantage of someone to lowball him/her with a salary range far below the going rate.

Here's a couple of other words that fail to arouse interest in a person with the power to hire.
Energetic? (as opposed to candidates who write they expect to sleep on the job every day?)
Seasoned? (salt? pepper? Tobasco?)
Strong? (weightlifting skills required?)
Driven? (lost license with a DUI?)

Here's the deal:
Don't waste valuable real estate on your resume or cover letter by putting in terms and phrases that send readers either into comas or paroxysms of laughter. Instead, say something with a real action verb and back it up with a brief sentence or two (or three) telling what or how you accomplished that action verb.

Here's a few sample verbs that may tickle your thinking as to something YOU did as the lead or mover and shaker:

  1. Created
  2. Increased
  3. Reduced
  4. Improved
  5. Developed
Also, try to leave out stuff where you "assisted" or "maintained" - back in the 60's and 70's, every advertising copywriter who auditioned for our investment bank's work told us he/she "worked on" or "assisted on" the Mr. Whipple "Please don't squeeze the Charmin!" ad campaign. We laughed a lot! Plus - what on earth did Charmin have to do with investment banks?
 
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Stijloor

Staff member
Super Moderator
#2
Every day, it seems, I read another resume where the writer says "good worker" - Is that to weed out employers who are looking for bad workers?;)

If I roll my eyes and aim for the circular file or "delete" button, what must happen with the person who has to read several hundred of these every day?

The plain fact is that blah words and overused, meaningless adjectives and verbs do little to advance one's candidacy and may be the kiss of death in many cases. There may be some employers who want dull, drab workers who have zero initiative and never color outside the lines, but most employers want someone who can help them move forward, not march in place for all eternity.

In the Quality profession, we've been making a big deal for years about the difference between anecdotal evidence and documented evidence. If a candidate writes "motivated," what effect does he expect that word makes on the person reading the resume or cover letter? I suspect the guy is motivated because his funds are running low - unscrupulous employers might take advantage of someone to lowball him/her with a salary range far below the going rate.

Here's a couple of other words that fail to arouse interest in a person with the power to hire.
Energetic? (as opposed to candidates who write they expect to sleep on the job every day?)
Seasoned? (salt? pepper? Tobasco?)
Strong? (weightlifting skills required?)
Driven? (lost license with a DUI?)

Here's the deal:
Don't waste valuable real estate on your resume or cover letter by putting in terms and phrases that send readers either into comas or paroxysms of laughter. Instead, say something with a real action verb and back it up with a brief sentence or two (or three) telling what or how you accomplished that action verb.

Here's a few sample verbs that may tickle your thinking as to something YOU did as the lead or mover and shaker:

  1. Created
  2. Increased
  3. Reduced
  4. Improved
  5. Developed
Also, try to leave out stuff where you "assisted" or "maintained" - back in the 60's and 70's, every advertising copywriter who auditioned for our investment bank's work told us he/she "worked on" or "assisted on" the Mr. Whipple "Please don't squeeze the Charmin!" ad campaign. We laughed a lot! Plus - what on earth did Charmin have to do with investment banks?
Comments anyone? Someone tried this approach?

Thank you!!

Stijloor.
 
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