Posts Tagged ‘resume verbs’

September is Update Your Resume Month!


Update Your Resume MonthSeptember is Update Your Resume Month and I am taking this opportunity to encourage YOU to update your resume! You never know when you will need to provide your resume to someone on short notice, so it’s a good idea to keep it as current as possible. Even if your job is secure, you could receive a sudden opportunity to step into a position with more responsibility. Or perhaps your boss will ask you for your resume to include in a contract proposal. I have many clients who end up paying rush fees unnecessarily because they did not prepare for unanticipated resume requests!

Here are my top 10 recommendations to avoid the panic of a last-minute scramble to update your resume:

  1. Check your contact information. Are your address and phone number accurate? Is your LinkedIn Profile URL included on your resume?
  2. Read your Summary statement. Does it reflect your most current capabilities and achievements? If not, update it! Use specifics about yourself rather than overinflated “resume speak.”
  3. Add any skills / core competencies that you have added to your tool kit.
  4. Review the dates of all your employment positions and confirm that they are correct.
  5. List your most current position on your resume! (Perhaps you got a promotion that you haven’t gotten around to listing yet?)
  6. Include a result or impact in every bullet if at all possible. Companies care about what you achieved much more than they do about your job duties! Don’t ignore your duties and skills, but relate them to an achievement.
  7. If you have achieved something notable since you last updated your resume (and if it’s been more than a few months, I hope you have), add it to your current position’s bullets! Keep a running list of your metrics and achievements so that you can easily insert this information into your resume!
  8. Search and strip out any redundant or irrelevant information on your resume. If a past achievement or skill is not relevant to where you’re headed now, there’s no need to include it.
  9. Check your formatting with an eagle eye. Is every bullet consistently formatted? Are the fonts cohesive throughout? Have you printed the document to make sure it looks good on paper? Don’t risk being judged as detail-UNoriented!
  10. Create a version of your resume that meets the requirements of ATS systems (computer systems that read your resume). If you’re not familiar with how to do this, read Tip #43 in How to Write a WINNING Resume.

For more detail on how to accomplish these 10 resume update recommendations, you might want to look at my e-books How to Write a WINNING Resume or How to Write a STELLAR Executive Resume.

You can receive a free excerpt of both How to Write a WINNING Resume and How to Write a STELLAR Executive Resume by signing up for The Essay Expert’s job search e-list right here.

Do you have other ideas on how to use Update Your Resume Month to its fullest advantage? Please share in the comments!

Top 10 Grammatical and Spelling Errors of 2013


It’s that time of year again! This year I will address some of the top grammatical and spelling errors specifically found on resumes Top Ten Grammatical Errors 2013and business documents, both of which constitute a large portion of what I read. Here’s the list:

#10 – Inconsistencies in Bulleted Lists
If you make a list of bulleted items, whether it be on a resume or on a website, make them consistent in terms of the part of speech you start with. Bullets that start with the words Provide, Assess, Ensure, and Designing are not parallel; nor are bullets that start with Creates, Teaches, Organized, and Fulfills. Perhaps the inconsistent word jumps off the page when listed this way, but I see mismatched bullets in many types of documents every day. Check your bulleted lists carefully!

#9 – Manager/Manger
According to Wikipedia, a “manger” is “a feeder that is made of carved stone, wood, or metal construction and is used to hold food for animals (as in a stable).” A “manager,” in contrast, is a person in a professional setting who supervises a person or team. Don’t mix them up on your resume, or in your Christmas greetings ;-).

#8 – Principal/Principle
“Principal” is an adjective meaning first, highest, or foremost in importance, rank, worth, or degree; or of, relating to, or being financial principal, or a principal in a financial transaction. It can also be a noun meaning a person with a leading role, or one who holds a position of presiding rank or who is a main participant in a situation. “Principle,” in contrast, is a basic truth, tenet or assumption. I realize this spelling distinction can be hard to remember. One trick I use to keep them straight is to think, “You’re my #1 pal” and know that the word ending in “pal” relates to someone or something that is #1.

#7 – PowerPoint/Powerpoint
It’s a common error to miss the capital P in the middle of PowerPoint. Be careful when listing any computer programs on your resume to spell them correctly!

#6 – Set up/Setup
“Set up” is a verb meaning to set something up or put something in a specified state. Notice that there is a word in between “set” and “up” in the definition of “set up,” which you can think of as being substituted with a space. You must set *something* (_) up. “Setup,” however, is a noun meaning the process of preparing something to be used. You might set up the menus in a restaurant if you work there, but you would go to a setup menu to get a computer program ready for use.

#5 – Inconsistent Dashes
If you use dashes in between start and end dates on your resume, or between any items in a document, use the same length dash for every similar set of text! I almost always see inconsistencies, especially on resumes, and they appear unprofessional. Don’t write June 2011-July 2013 in one spot and August 2010—June 2011 in another.

#4 – Apostrophes
This issue makes the list for the third year in a row. Main point: Creating a plural doesn’t require an apostrophe. One client, two clients. To make a singular word possessive, add an apostrophe ‘s’: e.g., I wrote one client’s resume today. To make a plural word possessive, add an apostrophe after the ‘s’: e.g., I reviewed 5 clients’ records and discovered errors in 3 of them. See Top 7 Grammatical and Spelling Errors of 2012 and Top 10 Grammatical and Spelling Errors of 2011 for more on this topic.

#3 – Everyday/Every day
This is a repeat topic as well. Everyday is an adjective meaning “common” or “day-to-day.” Every day means “daily” or “each and every day.” Want to learn a trick to remember which is which? See Common Grammatical Errors: Everyday vs. Every Day.

#2 – Lead/Led
The absolute most common spelling error on resumes is the use of “lead,” meant to be the past tense of “lead.” The past tense of the verb “to lead” is “led”! I would love to see this error disappear from the resume writing world.

#1 – Two spaces after a period!
Sure there are people who still argue that two spaces after a period is acceptable, but I have been fully converted! I have trained my fingers and my eyes to put one space after each period, and I’m attempting to train my clients to “get with the program” as well. If it’s good enough for the Chicago Manual of Style, it’s good enough for me!

Have a happy, healthy, and grammatically correct new year. And remember, I’m always open to hearing your suggestions for my 2014 list!

LinkedIn says the 2011 most overused professional buzzwords in the United States are “creative,” “organizational” and “effective”


On December 13, 2011, LinkedIn released its “most overused” buzzwords list for 2011.  Here is the list of the top 10, with “creative” reigning at the top.  When a particular country or countries stood out for overuse of a term, the country name(s) are listed in parentheses:2011 LinkedIn Overused buzzwords


  1. Creative (Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States)
  2. Organizational
  3. Effective (India)
  4. Extensive experience
  5. Track record (Singapore)
  6. Motivated (Ireland)
  7. Innovative
  8. Problem solving (Italy)
  9. Communication skills
  10. Dynamic (France)

The good news?  Some people heeded last year’s list and stopped overusing at least some of the following 2010 Overused Buzzwords:

  1. Extensive experience
  2. Innovative
  3. Motivated
  4. Results-oriented
  5. Dynamic
  6. Proven track record
  7. Team player
  8. Fast-paced
  9. Problem solver
  10. Entrepreneurial

The four exact matches between 2010 and 2011 years are “motivated,” “dynamic,” “innovative” and “extensive experience.” There are also some near matches with “problem solving” vs. “problem solver” and “proven track record” vs. “track record” (I personally have tired of all of these terms).

I believe job seekers and career professionals have done some good work changing the landscape — four of the terms on the list have changed, and all of them have changed rank.   Let’s face it:  There will be overused words every year.  I’m just glad to see we’re learning lessons along the way.

How Creative are You?

This year’s primary lesson:  Don’t say you are “creative” – demonstrate your creativity!  Design and upload a PowerPoint presentation to SlideShare and post it to your LinkedIn profile.  Give examples of marketing strategies you devised.  Include your artistic portfolio in your profile.  And don’t use the same words everyone else is using!  We now know that asserting you are “creative” is a sure way to prove that you are not.

Met or Exceeded Organizational Goals?

“Organizational” is a bit tougher.  How do you say you met organizational goals without saying you met organizational goals?  One thing to keep in mind is that of course you are going to strive for and meet organizational goals!  What other goals would you possibly want to report?  I admit I will be a little sad to let this term go, but I see the point of finding alternatives.  “Meet targeted goals” would be just as effective (oh did I say “effective”?  Send me to India where I’ll be in good company!)  Or perhaps a chart of goals vs. accomplishments would obviate the need for the term “organizational.”  I predict that next year “goal(s)” and “target(s)” will top this list.

Devise an Effective Strategy Lately?

Thankfully there are a multitude of ways to convey the concept of “effective.”  “Successful” is the clearest alternative, followed by “winning,” “profitable,” “lucrative,” “productive,” “fruitful,” “targeted” and even “efficacious” (I don’t love that last one as a resume/profile adjective).  Take your pick or find another way to say what you mean!  (Sometimes you can just leave out the adjective completely, as I did by avoiding “find another effective way” in that last sentence.)

As for “extensive experience” and “track record,” these terms are like nails on a blackboard to me.  I see them a lot and make short work of them on my resumes.

How many of these top 10 overused words show up in your profile?  Please share below.

And  if you want expert assistance to craft a LinkedIn profile that stands out in a sea of 135 million LinkedIn users, contact The Essay Expert through our Web Form or at 608-467-0067.

Like this article?  You might also enjoy Ten Buzzwords to Take Off Your LinkedIn Profile Now published by Time Newsfeed.