The Do´s and Don’ts of language use in job hunting


There are certain words you should not use in your resume if you desire to hunt down your dream job. When searching for advice about how to write the one and only perfect resume (btw, if apply for a job in the United States, always name your file resume instead of CV), there are some things you probably never thought about. Almost all of the biggest recruitment agencies offer some advice on what you definitely should NOT put there. Firstly, the most common thing these job hunting experts say is to use nouns instead of verbs. Karen Burns, a published author and blogger states that job hunters at the recruitment agencies do not look for common verbs such as “managed” or “assisted”. Instead, they look for more extraordinary things such as your skills, certifications, job titles, company names and the names of the universities you have studied at.

Another thing one should not forget is keywords. When the employer explains the duties of the advertised job, one should check the possible key words. These are the words that are the most repetitive and visible in the job ad. If similar words are also found in the company´s website, one should definitely use these in the resume and later during the possible interview. When talking about the verbs that would stand out, Burns points out that there really is a difference. When you describe your achievement with verbs such as “contributed” or “supported”, this does not tend to impress head hunters. As an alternative, the job seeker should fill her resume with “power verbs” like “completed”, “managed” and “resolved”. The resume should also be consistent and clear, and most importantly it should not include typos of any kind. Employers won’t appreciate the black humour in the situation where you state in your resume full of typos that you are skilled with “high attention to detail”.

One is probably wondering why make such a fuss about resume writing and choosing the right words for it. The Resume writing style sheet, which can be found on the Columbia University website, states that every resume the recruiter glances at, has approximately six seconds to attract interest or is thrown into the bin directly. Thus, by using correct and attractive terminology one can assure a better chance to pass the first round of selection.

There is one more point worth mentioning, that can also be found almost in all resume writing guidelines: do not lie about your language skills or previous experience. It is not worth it and it may get you in big trouble.



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Written by Maria Seppa, Study visitor at TermCoord