Can the Words You Use on Your Resume Really Make That Big of a Difference?

Posted May 30, 2012 by
Jessica Holbrook Hernandez of Great Resumes Fast

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez of Great Resumes Fast

You hear a lot of talk about using hard skills versus soft skills or using strong adjectives versus passive terminology on your resume, but can the words you choose really make that big of a difference?  Absolutely!

The right word choice can be the difference between sounding like you are barely knowledgeable about something or having a full mastery of it.  Let me provide the following example.  Which of these statements sounds like the person is a go-getter capable of taking action:

Effectively build and maintain key professional relationships, expand customer base, and target new markets.


Builder and maintainer of key professional relationships, expander of customer base, and targeter of new markets.

While both statements refer to very general duties (and I wouldn’t choose to use either of them on a resume as they’re not specific or targeted enough), the first one sounds like the person did that as part of his job at some point; perhaps it was a responsibility assigned to him during his tenure.  The second statement sounds like the person owned his responsibility to build relationships—and made it happen!

Do you want to be someone who is perceived as MAKING things happen for a prospective employer?  If so, think about the terminology you’re using on your resume and how you can make small changes that will make a big impact.

Remember that word choice is important, but customizing your resume for each position is even more important.  For tips on how to brand your resume, check out my recent article: 5 Key Areas to Target When Branding Your Resume.

For additional job search and resume-related advice, follow us on Twitter @GreatResume. 

Guest Author: Global resume authority Jessica Hernandez of is a former HR Manager who partners with professional- and executive-level candidates to create authentic, branded resumes and cover letters.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Posted in Career Advice for Job Seekers | Tagged Tagged ,