Writing Effectively

Writing and Phrasing

  • Brainstorm and choose information about yourself that highlights how you match the needs of the position. Use the job posting as a guide, focusing on key words and language relevant to the business/industry you’re applying for.
  • Highlight your strengths and accomplishments using specific examples.
  • Use concrete details and quantify your statements whenever possible (e.g. “Supervised a team of 5 employees”, “Increased sales by 15%”, “Presented to a group of 100 students”, etc.).
  • Describe relevant context to help the reader understand the variety, depth, and difficulty of the tasks involved and how well you performed them.
  • Get to the point quickly. Use the minimum number of words necessary to accurately convey your meaning. Use bullet lists to make your resume easy to skim.
  • Do not use personal pronouns or introductory phrases (e.g. “In this position, my duties included recruiting and training 3 volunteers.”). Instead, start your statements with verbs (e.g. “Recruited and trained 3 volunteers.”).

Describe Your Skills

When writing your resume sections, start with basic tasks and transferable skills you performed, then elaborate with additional detail, examples, numbers, and descriptions. Ask yourself the following questions and use the answers to craft more descriptive statements:

  • Why did you perform these duties? What was the purpose/benefit to the company or department?
  • What was involved in completing past tasks? What did you actually do? Write about concrete action steps, activities, and relevant details of projects and accomplishments.
  • How well did you perform past tasks? What made you stand out? Be honest and add adjectives and adverbs as needed to show competency.
  • How did you make a contribution? Did you contribute to client or customer satisfaction, management success, decision-making processes, or any other end results in the bigger picture of the company and its goals or values?
  • How successful were your efforts and activities? What were the end results? Connect yourself with concrete and specific success results.
  • How were the tasks special, important, meaningful, or valuable to others?