Career Calling

September 4, 2013

Foggy Language Hurts Your Resume

A client brought me a resume that had been written by a professional service.  She was seeking a role as an administrative assistant, and she was especially troubled by two job descriptions that were each one sentence long:

1.   Effectively performed a variety of duties within office settings at several organizations; consistently demonstrated a strong work ethic and capability to adapt new environments.

2.  Conducted numerous daily responsibilities entailing optimal organization, coordination, scheduling, and issue resolution for a fast-paced department compromised of 205 personnel.

Both of these sentences suffer from the same problem.  They are packed with generalities that do not address an employer’s needs.  We do not know what skills or experience the job seeker is offering an employer.  Compare these two examples:

1.  Supervised business operations for an electrical contracting firm.  Processed a payroll for as many as 20 employees.  Managed accounts payable and accounts receivable. Wrote correspondence, and took dictation from the owner.  Coordinated transfer of documents needed to close contracts.  Maintained office supply inventory and ordered new stock.  Answered phones, routed calls, and took messages.  Kept  the office clean and organized.

2.  Supported 4 executives, working proactively to address each individual’s needs.  Maintained and updated each executive’s calendar.  Screened calls, took messages, and set up meetings.  Scheduled travel and lodging.  Set up and managed expenses accounts.  Created presentation materials, including PowerPoint files.

Keep the language of your resume simple and clear.  Make sure that it speaks to the employer’s needs. If a sentence feels too thick, break it down so it is easy to read.  Employers receive hundreds of resumes for most positions.  If you’re language is foggy, one thing is guaranteed: you will not be called for an interview.

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