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Resume-building tips – Language (Part I)

Earlier we shared with you some of our favorite interview tips. We’d now like to take a step back and discuss how to write that winning resume which can help you land your next interview. Regardless of whether you’re just starting your career or you’ve grown into a seasoned professional, the importance of having a well-written resume with good grammar, proper punctuation, correct spelling and appropriate capitalization can never be emphasized enough. For starters, make sure you:

1. Write in active voice
When you write in the active voice, you create action and energy in your resume instead of using a dry, passive statement. For example:

A data integration system was successfully implemented by my team.Not recommended

I spearheaded the successful implementation of a data integration system. – Recommended

2. Avoid using unnecessary adjectives and adverbs
Indiscriminate usage of adjectives and adverbs is superfluous and can sound forced and awkward. Extensive use of such qualifiers is generally a ploy to make the writer sound more important and/or to cover for perceived inefficiencies. Please just state the facts. For example:

Maximize productivity by detecting issues before they are reported with a superb level of skill.Not recommended

Maximize productivity by 13% by detecting issues before they are reported. – Recommended

Deftly developed and maintained client relationships, while applying superior problem-solving skills to better ensure unrivaled customer satisfaction.Not recommended

Developed and maintained client relationships by using problem-solving and listening skills to better understand customers’ needs and ensure their satisfaction.
– Recommended

It’s also important to remember that using words such as efficient, innovative, diligent, unrivaled, enthusiastic and excellent are meaningless without a context. Recruiters don’t search resume databases using those words. They use skill words such as Excel, analyze, SAP, customer service, logistics or Java. Also, instead of mentioning in your resume that you’re efficient, give a specific example of how you dealt with a difficult task that required efficient planning.

3. Know your punctuation
Not knowing that a comma should always precede the word “etc.” isn’t rare. Even some of the most experienced of professionals tend to write 1990’s and 2010’s (erroneous usage of apostrophe). Hyphenating compound adjectives and adverbs such as on-site, high-risk and state-of-the-art is a must, except when compounds are created with “-ly” adverbs. So a fully developed plan is fine. However, a space before a colon isn’t.

There are many grammar and punctuation checkers online such as www.grammerly.com. Just use your favorite search engine to find more.

This is the first installment in a new series of blogs about resume-building tips. To read our other blogs on career advice and contract employment, go to http://blog.rangam.com/.

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