Show ACTION in your resume!

When I teach classes on writing resumes, sometimes, to get a laugh out of the audience, I adopt a ‘Ben Stein’ tone (ala “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) to provide a dramatic example of how boring people’s resumes can be: “I did this, and I did that, and that’s that.”


No one wants to read a dry boring resume and try to figure out the person behind the piece of paper. Which is all the more reason why you need to integrate a proactive, dynamic voice to this document!

The real key behind adding energy behind the words is to look for active voice words to start your accomplishment statements (under your employment experience). Starting off sentences with words like, “Engineered”, “Conducted”, “Transformed”, “Spearheaded” or “Boosted” add that extra ‘oomph’ in your accomplishments. You can successfully frame your accomplishments around job duties, but tell the prospective employer what you did, how you did it and what the end result was to your previous employer.

Being grounded in how the work you did and results you obtained fit into the overall organizational impact. This shows your leadership and vision, and speaks directly to how you are able to grasp the big picture and deliver valuable outcomes to employers in terms that they understand.

Most for-profit companies want to know how you can make money, save money or save time. Non-profit organizations want to know how you can expand services, reach more people, expand fundraising streams and impact the constituency they serve. Conversely, government agencies focus on regulation, compliance and driving projects.

Your goal is to get at the root of what your target company is looking for, frame what you did in active voice terms, and build the VALUE of what you’ve accomplished.

This alone is of great value to employers, and demonstrates how much of an active asset you are to the prospective employer!