The Right Verb for the Job

Don’t get caught in the trap of using “responsible for” when describing your job duties. It’s predictable, boring, and not very descriptive. Instead, take the time to choose the best verb to reflect your responsibilities.

Many online sites include great lists of verbs you can choose from when writing your career documents (including your resume). You can find a comprehensive list of verbs compiled by the Career Thought Leaders’ Resume Writing Academy at this site: http://www.resumewritingacademy.com/resume-writer-resources.php (click the link under Verb List).

Or try sparking your imagination with this list-–designed to help you find the right verb for the job!

Instead of "communicate," try:

AddressDetailOfferRenegotiate
AdjudicateDocumentParticipateReport
AdviseDraftPersuadeRepresent
AdvocateEducatePresentRespond
ArbitrateEmphasizePromoteSpeak
ArticulateEncourageMediateSpecify
AuthorEndorseMentorSuggest
BriefEspouseNegotiateSummarize
ClarifyInfluenceNetworkSupport
CoachInformNominateTeach
CommandInstructProposeTrain
ConsultInterviewPublicizeTranslate
ConveyLectureQueryVerbalize
CounselLiaiseQuestionWrite
CritiqueListenRecommend

Instead of "lead," try:

ChampionDriveGuideOrchestrate
ControlEmpowerInspirePilot
DelegateEnforceMarshallShepherd
DirectEnsureMotivateSpearhead

Instead of "improve," try:

AccelerateCutExpediteRealign
AccomplishDecreaseGainRecapture
AdvanceDevelopIncreaseReduce
AlignDiminishIntensifyRegain
AlterDiversifyLowerRejuvenate
AugmentDoubleMaximizeRenovate
CapitalizeEditMinimizeReorganize
CentralizeElevateMonetizeRestore
ChangeEliminateNormalizeTrim
CommercializeEnergizeObliterateUnify
CommoditizeEnhanceOptimizeUnite
ConserveEnlivenOverhaulUpdate
ConsolidateEradicatePerfectUpgrade
ConvertExceedPurify
CurtailExpandRaise

Instead of "make," try:

ArchitectEngineerManufactureStandardize
AssembleEstablishMastermindStimulate
BuildExperimentPrepareStreamline
CollaborateForgeProduceStrengthen
CraftFormulateRebuildStructure
CompileGenerateRedesignSurpass
ConstructImplementReengineerSynergize
CreateImproviseRestructureSynthesize
DesignInnovateRevitalizeSystematize
DiscoverInstallSimplifyTransform
EnactInventSlash

Instead of "manage," try:

ArrangeFacilitateHelmProject manage
CompelFosterLeadSteer
DirectGovernOfficiateSupervise
EmpowerHandleOversee
ExecuteHeadPreside

Instead of "solve," try:

AccommodateDetermineMasterResolve
AchieveDeviseOvercomeReview
AdaptDiscernPinpointStrategize
AddressEstimatePredictStudy
CalculateEvaluatePrescribeSucceed
CompleteExamineProveTabulate
ComputeExploreQualifyTest
ConcludeFindQuantifyTroubleshoot
CorrectHypothesizeRateVerify
DecipherIdentifyReconcileWin
DeriveInvestigateRemedy
DetectJudgeResearch

Want to see some excellent verbs in action? Check out my award-winning resume samples!

What other verbs do you tend to overuse that you’d like to find a substitute for? Let me know your favorite words and your pet peeves in the comments below!

To Your Success!

 

Kristin S. Johnson

CARW, CCMC, CJSS, COPNS, CG3C, CBBSC

Profession Direction, LLC

 

P.S. Don’t forget! Profession Direction’s LinkedIn Success Institute kicks off on February 28th. There are a few seats left, so register today!

Introducing … LinkedIn Success Institute

 

Need to jump start your job search in the new year?

Want to boost online visibility for yourself or your organization?

 

LinkedIn Training

 

LinkedIn’s popularity has skyrocketed in the last decade because of it’s effectiveness at connecting people with career opportunities. But, many struggle to figure out how to get LinkedIn to work for them. 

In just a few short sessions from the area’s only Certified Online Professional Networking Strategist, Kristin S. Johnson, you can finally have a well-written, fully optimized LinkedIn profile that will get you noticed!

Perfect for:

- Professionals who want to jump start their job search in the new year.
- Entrepreneurs or small business owners who want to boost their online presence.

Kristin will be instructing a series of four 2-hour sessions in a live LinkedIn laboratory covering layers of LinkedIn from beginner to advanced.

Includes:

- Profile setup basics, privacy settings, and etiquette
- Principles of persuasive (yet not too sales-y) writing for your Headline, Summary, and Professional Experience sections with break out time for coaching to actually get stuff written!
- Ways to use Groups, Company Pages, Jobs, Education, and Volunteer Marketplace.
- Tricks and workarounds for limitations when doing research on LinkedIn
- How to conduct Advanced Searches and what to say to the people you want to connect with
- Advanced methods for expanding your brand on your Profile page including Publisher and Rich Media.

What you’ll walk away with:

A complete “All-Star” profile
    – 120-character Professional Headline
    – Compelling Summary with at least 3 accomplishment-driven bullet points
    – List of 50 keywords to use in your Skills and Experience sections to boost SEO
    – Branding statement to use in your profile and when you network in person

Answers to questions like:
    – “How do I conduct a confidential job search and use LinkedIn at the same time?”
    – “Do I need to upgrade to LinkedIn Premium?”
    – “Who should I connect with on LinkedIn? Everybody? Or, should I be selective?”
    – “What do I say to people when I connect or message with them?”
    – “I’m horrible at writing. How do I get help?”
    – “How do I make LinkedIn really work for me?”

Complimentary copy of Kristin’s resource ebook “Target Your Success with LinkedIn”
 – Names of at least 50 recruiters and hiring managers in your field to connect with
 – List of 50 professional groups to join and network in
 – Personalized action-item list to facilitate your in-person networking strategy

What makes this different from other LinkedIn workshops? You get in-person coaching to actually get your profile completed and sections written from a Certified Online Professional Networking Strategist and Certified Advanced Resume Writer. Also, if you miss a session, you’ll be able to watch the recorded session in a webinar with email access for up to 30 days after the course is completed.

If you decide you’d like to have Kristin write your profile after all, you’ll be given a promotional discount for her services.
BONUS! You can attend either in-person, if you’re in the Madison area, or online to learn virtually. 

(You can also access the Institute online if you’re local and miss a class or two.) 

There will be four 2-hour sessions — a $797 value — offered as a pilot program special for just $397 for a limited time!

EVENT DATES: 

  • Saturday, February 28

  • Saturday, March 7

  • Saturday, March 21

  • Saturday, March 28

* Please note there is not a session on March 14th.

All sessions begin with networking and coffee at 9:30 a.m. CST

Program begins at 10 a.m. CST and ends at Noon.

Eventbrite - LinkedIn Success Institute

Top 10 Ways to Make Resume Writing FUN

Live events featuring Kristin

Top 10 Ways to Make Resume Writing FUN! small“Top 10 Ways to Make Resume Writing FUN!”

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 7-8pm
The MGE Innovation Center
505 S. Rosa Rd.
Madison, WI 53719

We are hosting an educational session with my friend and colleague, Brenda Bernstein of The Essay Expert. She will be giving her presentation, “How to Make Resume Writing Fun.” Please register for the event so that space is set aside for you. Remember, even people NOT in a job search still need a resume for internal promotion within their own company.

Madison Achievers

Job search clubs can be a real asset to your search. They can be great way to hold yourself accountable, provide networking opportunities, and be a reassuring source of support. A client recently wrote to me:

“I attended a class [for job seekers] at a local co-working center…To see all these other folks with exactly the same reservations and fears as I have was very helpful for me…It was a huge confidence builder for me and I got some practice at networking too, and it wasn’t bad at all… Although I was initially thinking it was sort of a chore to go, I am very glad I did and I can now definitely see how networking could pay off. It was pretty cool.”

This was music to my ears! It was exactly these reasons why last year at this time I helped start a new Toastmasters club in my city, geared towards career advancement and job search. Since then, our club members have built their networks, gained new skills, and some have gotten new jobs. To learn more about how Toastmasters may benefit your career where you live, check out Feel The Love With Toastmasters: 7 Career Benefits on my blog.

Are you in Madison? You are welcome to join the Madison Achievers for a meeting.

Madison Achievers Toastmasters Club meets every Wednesday 7:00-8:00 p.m.
The MGE Innovation Center
505 S. Rosa Rd.
Madison, WI 53719

Map: http://goo.gl/GoaqAc

Facebook   Madison Achievers Facebook Page
LinkedIn
   Madison Achievers LinkedIn Page

How to Help Your Resume Stand Out for Helping Professions – Part Two

Doctor and PatientIdentifying the specific skills, personality traits, and accomplishments that will set you apart from your competition (see How to Help Your Resume Stand Out for Helping Professions – Part One) is a great first step for any jobseeker, including those in helping professions. But knowing all those things won’t get you very far in a competitive job market if you don’t know how to show off all those brag-worthy items on your resume.

Yep, there’s an art to bragging in a way that showcases you as an ideal job candidate without turning a prospective employer off, confusing them, or making them wonder why they should care.

Let’s start with two very important rules:

  1. Be honest. If you inflate your contributions or your credentials in order to impress an employer, you will be found out sooner or later. It’s not worth it. Your reputation (and future employment) is at stake.
  1. Be specific. It’s not enough to say that you improved patient satisfaction or increased efficiency. Always look for ways to quantify that improvement and include how you accomplished what you did.

Next, look over your list of possible accomplishments to be included on your resume. Do any of them relate to awards, praise, or positive feedback you received from your employer, or from your clients/patients/students or their families? To use these in your resume, I recommend stating the positive thing that happened first, and then detailing the “why.”

For example, if you won an award, you might pattern your accomplishment statement after this one (substituting your own award and abilities): “Peer-nominated and awarded office’s Employee of the Year in 2014 due to great customer service, willingness to stay until all work completed, and demonstrated concern for clients.” That paints a compelling picture, doesn’t it?

Here’s an example of how you might draft a sentence about praise or feedback you received:

“Commended by preceptor for excellent assessment skills as well as fostering friendly and compassionate relationship with patients.”

Got it? All right, let’s take a look at one of the simplest ways to write about other sorts of achievements. In this case, you can use a Situation, Metrics, Action, Result, Theme (SMART) approach to describing your accomplishment. (For a brief description of that technique, see “5 Ways to be SMART in Your Interview”) Here’s an example:

“Clinic employee morale was at an all-time low, and long-time, loyal professionals were leaving in droves. (Situation) Identified that new scheduling system was not well received, resulting in significant dissatisfaction with schedules. Instituted “employee choice” schedule system that increased employee cooperation in determining ideal staffing schedule and improved employee satisfaction as a result. (Action) Reduced turnover by 15%, saving more than $12,500 in hiring and training costs in the first three months after implementing new system. (Metrics and Result) Recognized for spotting and tackling seemingly unsolvable problems. (Tie-in)”

Since that’s a bit long for most resumes, try boiling your SMART summary down to its essence, as in:

“Slashed turnover 15%, saving more than $12,500 in hiring and training costs in first three months by implementing new scheduling system to enhance employee satisfaction.”

This kind of statement is effective because: it’s matter-of-fact, not boastful; it includes quantified data, detailing exactly how this accomplishment affected the employer; it starts with an action verb; and it’s specific, letting the reader know what skills or approach the jobseeker used to combat the problem. Perhaps most importantly, it draws the reader in by starting with a bang, or the information that will be of most interest to a potential employer: numbers!

Hiring managers love numbers in resumes. Numbers help them understand the scope of your responsibilities and the magnitude of the change you wrought. So use them wherever possible, not just in your accomplishment section.

Okay, we’ve covered two different ways to write about how you’ve set yourself apart in the jobs you’ve held. I hope you’re feeling more confident about doing some bragging in your own resume.

For more ideas on how to show off your skills and accomplishments to their best advantage, check out my resume that won 2nd place Best Healthcare/Medical Resume in the 2014 TORI Awards.

You can see more excellent, award-winning resumes on the Career Directors International (CDI) website (Google Career Directors International resumes + the name of your field or job). This site has some wonderful examples of how to showcase a jobseeker’s unique skills and experience. Although you may be tempted to copy their text, don’t! Your resume will be far more compelling if it reflects the real you.

Of course, if you need some extra help coming up with stories you’ve got bragging rights to, please set up a consult with me. We’ll get you an awesome resume that can proudly strut its stuff for potential employers!

Kristin S. Johnson
CARW, CCMC, CJSS, COPNS, CG3C, 360Reach Analyst
Profession Direction, LLC
www.ProfessionDirection.com 

Kristin is a TORI award-winning, 7-times certified resume writer, job search coach, and social media consultant. Her approach is cutting-edge, creative, and kind. As owner of Profession Direction, LLC, she works with professionals and aspiring executives across the country. Her clients enjoy the reassurance of having professionally-written, SEO-optimized documents. They find clarity and direction in their job search, feel at ease with social media and in-person networking, and earn more income faster.

She would love to help you Target Your Success Today!” 

How to Help Your Resume Stand Out for Helping Professions – Part One

cartoon-vector-nurse-and-doctor-carrying-the-patient_z11OtJOd

 

You’ve heard it before: hiring managers are impressed with numbers. That’s easy for someone in sales or finance, you may think. But how, exactly, are you supposed to impress anyone if you deal with people instead of figures?

Since it’s so difficult for many jobseekers in helping professions to think of things to brag about, often they don’t do it. And as a result, their resumes can be boring. Yep, so unimpressive that they don’t catch a hiring manager’s eye, and end up in the recycle pile instead.

So what’s a teacher or medical professional* or social worker to do? Helping students or patients or clients may be just part of the job, but the secret to setting yourself apart from other jobseekers is to find the ways you do that job better or more efficiently than those around you. And then brag about it.

You don’t like to brag? Trust me, you’ll need to venture out of your comfort zone for your job search. It’s okay, actually expected, that you tout your accomplishments in your resume.

If you need some help getting started, consider your answers to the following questions for each job you’ve held (and write those answers down!):

Why?- Why were you hired for the position? If you were hired to meet a particular challenge that your employer faced, then considering the ways you’ve met or exceeded your employer’s expectations regarding that challenge may give you something you can brag about. Perhaps you were hired to teach low-performing students, or to address high turnover in a nursing department. Were you able to improve the situation?

What?- The answers to these questions can yield all sorts of accomplishments worth bragging about. For example: What do you enjoy the most about your job? What are you most proud of? What do your coworkers and boss say about you? What is unique about how you do your job? What have you done to increase your responsibilities at work? Hopefully, you’re starting to see a theme here. It’s all about what you do for your employer to make a difference… and not necessarily to the bottom line!

Still coming up empty? Here are a few more questions to think about: What teams have you been a part of? What special projects have you worked on? What have you done to improve communications, procedures, efficiency, etc.?

How many?- Yep, this is where the numbers come in, even for someone who deals with people instead of profits. Dig deep and find ways to quantify what you do. For example: How many patients/students/clients do you work with in a day? How many people are on the teams you work with? How many/what different types of diseases/injuries/problems do you treat/solve? How quickly did you learn complex tasks? What was the competition like to get into your program/field/position? How many people did you beat out to get in? What percentage of time do you meet or exceed a standard you are held to (for example, client satisfaction or student improvement or timely resolution of problems)? Estimations are okay, but get very specific if you can. If you don’t, your competition will!

How?- Once you’ve identified some of the things you might brag about, take a few minutes to ponder how you manage to do those things so well. Are you extremely friendly or knowledgeable or focused? Perhaps you manage impossible deadlines with grace and humor. Or maybe you’re the go-to person in your hospital whenever there’s a difficult blood draw. Whatever your strengths, those specific skills or personality traits that set you apart in the workplace can help set you apart on your resume as well!

Are you with me so far? I hope you’re feeling more positive about all of the ways you’ve done a great job for each of your previous employers, and more pumped up about finding the next one. Before you go off to flaunt all your wonderful skills and achievements on your resume, though, there’s one last part to this bragging bit that you need to know about… how to write about it! I’ll cover that, in detail, in Part Two, my next post.

Meanwhile, if you need a bit more help defining your strengths or finding things to brag about, feel free to reach out to me.

Kristin S. Johnson
CARW, CCMC, CJSS, COPNS, CG3C, 360Reach Analyst
Profession Direction, LLC
www.ProfessionDirection.com 

* Working with medical and healthcare professionals is one of my specialties. In fact, last year (2014) I was honored to win the Best Medical/Healthcare Resume, 2nd place TORI (Toast of the Resume Industry) Award from Career Directors International. You can see that resume here.

Did you notice what I did there? I used a number to brag about myself a little bit. ;-)

Be sure to also read: How to Help Your Resume Stand Out for Helping Professions – Part Two.