June 18, 2004, Newsletter Issue #22: Resume Wording

Tip of the Week

When you write your resume, do you write it as if you were describing what you do (or what you want) in a letter to a friend? Don`t!

A resume is not the place for full sentences. Sentence fragments are not only permissable, they`re preferable. Your resume isn`t supposed to read and flow like a term paper; it`s an outline.

Thus a sentence such as the following:

Assisted the President of the company in selecting new locations for a fourth branch office and outlining the reasons for that choice to present to the board

under the "fragment" rule would read:

Assisted President in choice of new location for fourth branch office; helped outline selection reasons for board presentation.

Resumes are generally scanned first, and read in detail only if the first few scans provide reason for closer inspection. Full sentences slow down the brain in the absorption of the material and compels the reader to give it more attention and time than is the point of a resume.

You`d think this would be to your advantage, right? Not really. NOT writing in fragments is just one of the myriads of ways people invite hiring authorities to throw the resume in the trash.

Too much time spent reading your resume - WHEN that time is NOT providing the reader with what he wants to see - means it gets discarded quicker...back to the pile for a re-read later, thrown on the desk, into the trash, etc.

When the reader IS seeing what he wants to see, fragments assist them in reading it closer and assimilating your information more easily. It still works to your advantage.

But date placement and writing in fragments are only TWO (yes, TWO!) resume techniques you need to be paying attention to. Next week I`ll discuss a third.

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