Resume Writing – Part 3

Written by on July 13, 2012 in Career - 2 Comments | Print this page

Resume Writing - Part 3

Use verbs to explain your past job duties.

Today, it’s time to discuss the absolute most important part of your resume – your work experience. The other stuff, such as the Accomplishments and Summary section, is nice but, it’s not the biggest part of your resume. The section that deals with your work experience is the section that actually backs up your Accomplishments and Summaries sections and demonstrates where you got these skills.

Show not Tell

In your Work Experience section, show the hiring manager what you did at your previous job, don’t tell them about it. What does this mean? Well, it means to get to the point quickly. Be very blunt and straightforward when describing your responsibilities. With the economy like it is, many job listings receive hundreds of responses in a day or two. So, the hiring person will typically only spend about 30 seconds or so scanning your resume before they make a decision about contacting you for an interview.

To make the most of that 30 seconds, you need to use clear, unambiguous verbs to describe your job duties. Don’t say vague, easy to misinterpret things like “Handled customer complaints.” How did you handle these complaints? Did you tell the customer to get lost and then call it a day? In this situation, a better way to phrase this duty would be to say something like “Resolved customer complaints in a variety of ways, such as…” This shows that you listened to and worked to fix the complaints, that you didn’t just note them and move on. It also shows that you had to think and choose the best method of resolving the issue. Overall, this explanation of the duty makes you look more like a problem solver and less like a message taker.

When applying for a job, go through the job listing to find key action words. Then, take these words and incorporate them into your resume where they fit. Even though you may have a word that made means the exact same thing, using the same wording as the job listing can help your resume to get by any resume filtering software a company may be using.

A simple way to make your verbs and phrases from the employment ad stand out on your resume is to make put them in bold. Using this technique, words and phrases like managed, resolved, increased revenue, and supervised would be in bold so that the person screening your resume sees them quickly.


Anytime you can back up your claims with numbers, do it. Potential employers like to see statistics and dollar amounts. Sure, you can say that you increased revenue all day long but, it doesn’t have quite the same impact as being able to say that you increased revenue by 26% over eight months. Although both may be correct, the statement with the statistics and the specific time frame just sounds more truthful.

An interesting way to include these numbers and dollar amounts is to include charts and graphs in your resume. Now, it may be difficult to post a resume with these to a resume board but, you can always use a plainer resume for sites like and have a fancier resume with the charts and graphs for interviews, job fairs, and other in-person meetings. Few applicants take the time to add this sort of thing to their resume. So, doing this will make your resume stand out from the others.

When writing your resume, it’s important to remember to showcase your experience in the best and most effective way possible. When all you have is thirty seconds, every word counts.

How do you use your resume to showcase your experience and accomplishments at work?


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About the Author

Jen Small

Jen is a writer who is originally from South Florida. A former recruiter for a Fortune 500 company, she has also worked in several different industries - real estate, insurance, construction, and education. Jen has now taken this experience to help others as a resume writer and designer. She currently lives and works in South Korea. View all posts with career advice.