Table of Contents
- 1. Write in First-Person Fragments
- 2. Use Formal and Professional English
- 3. Ensure Alignment with Your Target Job
- 4. Demonstrate your Qualifications and Interest
- 5. Use the Right Grammar
- 6. Be Mindful of Tenses
- 7. Write Using Relevant Voice
- 8. Use Storytelling
- 9. Lead with Strong Verbs
- 10. Get Keywords Right
High-quality resume content is not just about creating a good first impression with the description of your professional experience. It is also about the right structure, formatting, tone of voice, and language. Experts have found incorrect language and tone of voice to be deal-breakers for many candidates. To ensure your best-practice resume is perfect in every aspect, we will be discussing a few points in this article that focus on the right language and tone of voice.
1. Write in First-Person Fragments
Your sentences should be in first-person fragments. This will make it easier for the recruiters to read your resume content and make decisions. A recruiter only spends a few seconds on a resume, making it crucial for you to use succinct, clear information. Fragments will help them focus on the most important things only. If you use longer sentences, they may spend time reading long, irrelevant sentences resulting in an unfavorable decision.
“I defined marketing strategy. I assessed trends in the marketplace to uncover opportunities within different consumer touchpoints. I built, monitored, and enhanced customer journey design based on customers’ needs. I achieved targets and minimized costs”
If you use the example mentioned above, it might look uninteresting and complex because of repetitions of ‘I’s and long sentences. A better way to present this could be:
“Defined marketing strategy; assessed trends in the marketplace to uncover opportunities within different consumer touchpoints; built, monitored, and enhanced customer journey design based on customers’ needs; achieved targets and minimized costs”
2. Use Formal and Professional English
Make sure your resume is written in formal and professional English to make the document look polished and eloquent. We suggest aligning English with the target location. This means using British English in the UK, Australian English in Australia, Canadian English in Canada, and American English in the US and the rest of the world.
3. Ensure Alignment with Your Target Job
Your resume should be aligned with your target company, industry, and location. This creates a good first impression as it allows the recruiter to understand your interest and knowledge in the domain. For example, if you are applying for an HR position, using language like:
“led performance management of senior professionals” OR
“spearheaded diversity and inclusion initiatives”
will reflect an understanding of HR concepts and practices, inclining the outcome in your favor. However, stay away from jargon and keep your content simple and easy to understand.
4. Demonstrate your Qualifications and Interest
An interview-winning resume should reflect your interest in the position and qualifications aligned with the job. Your professional summary and experience sections should demonstrate your expertise, motivation to work, soft skills, and positive attitude. This helps recruiters and hiring managers understand if you will be a good fit for the organization and the team.
5. Use the Right Grammar
As basic as it may sound, using incorrect grammar such as tenses and voice may reduce your chances of getting to the next round as it may not look good and confuse the recruiter.
6. Be Mindful of Tenses
If you are describing your current job, use present tense unless you are describing a task that you no longer perform. When you are talking about a previous job or a task that you no longer undertake, use past tense. However, we suggest using different sentences to describe duties done in the past and the present. Using two tenses in a sentence may seem inappropriate and chaotic.
For example, use “defined pricing model; manage digital marketing strategy instead of defined pricing model and manage digital marketing strategy” for clarity.
7. Write Using Relevant Voice
With regards to voice, go for active irrespective of the content. Using passive voice may result in unnecessary words being added to your descriptions. Active voice will keep it short and sharp.
For example, go for “conducted high-quality internal research and introduced new tools, policies, and procedures” instead of “high-quality internal research was conducted and new tools, policies, and procedures were introduced”. While this may look okay for one bullet point, it will consume a lot of space in your resume when repeated across all bullet points.
8. Use Storytelling
Storytelling is a creative and efficient way to establish a connection with the audience and add credibility to your work. Using storytelling in your resume will help you write a compelling narrative. This will allow recruiters and hiring managers to connect with you and your story, wanting to know more, and eventually invite you to the next round. Storytelling resumes are found to be more popular amongst decision-makers.
9. Lead with Strong Verbs
Action verbs in your resume play an essential role and should be used constructively. Imagine you are a recruiter and you get to read two different resumes based on the below ideas:
- Managed team activities
- Managed digital marketing campaigns
- Managed day-to-day operations
- Spearheaded team activities
- Steered digital marketing campaigns
- Facilitated day-to-day operations
Which one do you think looks better? We believe you would also go for the second idea. This is because it avoids repetition and reflects leadership capabilities that are hardly demonstrated by using ‘managed’ in every sentence.
10. Get Keywords Right
What if you created a high-quality, results-oriented resume and are a good fit for your target job yet didn’t hear back from the employer? Chances are you didn’t clear the pre-screening performed by Applicant Tracking System (ATS). To make sure this does not happen, create an ATS-optimized resume which is essentially adding all the relevant keywords that an ATS would expect in your resume. To do this, we suggest running your resume against the target job description on Jobscan and adding all the hard and soft skills to increase your score to 80+. This will make sure your resume is ranked high, shortlisted, and finally viewed by a human (recruiter).
Writing an interview-winning resume is effort-intensive and time-consuming, which is why many people choose to seek professional help. If you are putting effort and time into a resume for yourself, you might as well make sure it is aligned with the best practices and gets you an interview. Make sure you use the right language and tone of voice to gain a competitive edge as many job seekers overlook such aspects. If you feel, you need assistance, we are here for you!