The job of your resume is to get you an interview. This will only ever happen if the reader finds it interesting enough to take action. How do you make sure your resume is inspiring and captures the reader’s attention? Your choice of words will be your number one tool.

Avoid sounding like a job description

A classic mistake when writing a resume is to look at job specifications for guidance. What most people fail to realize is that a job spec is most probably written by an HR office junior. The sole purpose of it is to list the responsibilities of a particular job. There is not a touch of of personality or emphasis added to any of the points and therefore you should stay well clear of using it for your resume.

It’s all about marketing

A resume is a marketing summary of your skills and experience. It tells the reader what you can do for them and why they should pick you instead of all other applicants. Unless you are a copywriter or work in PR, writing a marketing text that speaks to and entices the reader can prove difficult.

Your resume should be descriptive and should detail the scope of your responsibilities and accomplishments with carefully selected words. For your resume to stand out, replace passive voice verbs with action adverbs.

Example: Before

Here’s an example of someone describing their most recent employment:

“Responsibilities: Following up sales figures and reporting to area manager. Perform implementation with relevant stakeholders. Coordinate with relevant departments.”

Anyone still awake? Sounds like a job spec to me and it will make the reader reach for the delete button.

Example: After

Here’s how you could write it instead:

“In charge of thoroughly following up sales figures and promptly reporting to our area manager, effectively carrying out the complex implementations and solely handling extensive contacts with stakeholders, pulling everything together with other departments such as X,Y & Z.”

This sounds more like spoken language and therefore makes your text seem alive.

Breathe life into your text

Responsible for => heading up, in charge of

Develop => shape, create, invent

Duties include => oversee, head up

Perform => carry out, take action

Manage => be in charge, handle, execute

Coordinate => team up, pull together

You get the point!

Call to Action

Inspire the prospective employer to action by using the right language in your resume today. Go through it with a fine-tooth comb and change the language wherever it comes across as dull, impersonal or simply not engaging. When you re-read it and feel that the text is alive and inspiring, you know you are on the right track.

The original Undercover Recruiter, after 7 years in tech recruiting Jorgen now runs Link Humans, a social media agency in London.