The Death of the Verb

You and I have both heard the typical line from career counselors, “use power verbs in your résumé .” Right? They’ve even given us lists and lists of verbs to begin sentences:

  • Managed team of 10 engineers in highly competitive RFP process
  • Resolved difficult customer service issue for high stakes sale
  • Safeguarded company position through advanced marketing strategy

The problem with all of these verbs is that online, verbs are not as powerful as  nouns.

Thanks to search engines, and by extension, résumé-crawling software that HR departments use to pre-filter candidates, using the right nouns can either get you a job or keep you in the unemployment line.

The New Rules of Résumé Language

I’m not suggesting that you pack in as many nouns related to your field as possible. Keep it real, and just change the focus from verbs to nouns.

Careful. If you take this too far, your online résumé might look like this:

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Manager, team player and results-oriented marketing professional with 10 years experience managing, leading teams and running advertising for large companies that have managers and teams….

Make sure you write for people, but make sure to use the right combination of nouns. Too many nouns will get you red-flagged and discarded. Sentences that don’t make sense are also thrown out.

Where Do I Find My Nouns?

Because you are targeting specific jobs with specific companies, no one can give you a list. There are many tools to help you, but the best one comes directly from the company you are targeting!

Here are the steps I tell clients to grow their noun list:

  1. Collect 5-10 job postings from the company and/or position you are looking for (hmmm I guess Job Boards are good for one thing!)
  2. Highlight the nouns that seem to be recurring over and over again
  3. Jot down the nouns with the highest occurrences; make a list of 10.

Now you know what words to weave into your résumé for your target company.

Originally posted 2009-08-17 10:20:39. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Joshua Waldman, author of Job Searching with Social Media For Dummies, is recognized as one of the nation's top authorities in Social Media Career Advancement. To learn Joshua’s secret strategies for shortening the job search and getting the right job right away, Get The Missing Manual for LinkedIn Success

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