Self-Declarations on Résumés
Consider the following assertions from résumés that I reviewed recently:
- “Ambitious, career oriented, uniquely qualified, results-driven professional with outstanding academic preparation and exceptional industrial experience in applied research and design.”
- “Extremely strong, aggressive, self-sufficient writer with excellent technical skills and ability to learn new technologies quickly.”
The trouble with these statements is that they amount to unoriginal self-declarations. It is as though these candidates put on a crown and proclaimed themselves the kings and queens of the land of have-everything-an-employer-needs-skills. Most candidates do not realize such jargon can, in fact, be a turn-off.
Show than Tell
A résumé is, in essence, a documentation of your achievements and recognitions. Your résumé should not explicitly declare such characteristics as hard-working, entrepreneurial, self-starting, etc. Instead, your résumé should describe your accomplishments in such a way that a reader infers these skills in you.
Admittedly, describing your accomplishments to imply you are a “hard worker,” “self-starter,” or “team player” is difficult.
- To present yourself as “hard-working,” describe your part-time employment, serving as captain of the soccer team, leading a student club. Mention your high GPA and academic projects.
- To present yourself as “results-driven,” show how your projects contributed to your organization’s goals and bottom line: include phrases like, “saved 10% costs,” or “improved capacity by 18%,” etc.
Avoid proclamations, jargon and clichéd superlatives. Write your résumé to include more than a mere assemblage of personal particulars. Help the reader connect to you through your résumé and get a picture of your personality, unique skills and characteristics.