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What Tense To Write A Resume In

First Vs Third Person: Whats Better On A Resume

Resume Grammar: Third person, third person, present or past? All the answers are here.

The other thing to consider when writing your resume is point of view. Resumes are written in first person since youre talking about yourself and your own accomplishments. This means your bullet points should sound like they were written by you. For example, if youre talking about leading a team, you should write that you managed a team . Dont write manages a team as if your resume is being written by somebody else.

You also shouldnt use I statements outside of your cover letter, eg. I manage a team. Your resume is a formal document, so leave the I out of it.

Curious about what past vs present tense looks like in action? Here are some examples to guide you.

Top Resume Question: Past Tense Or Present Tense Verbs In My Resume

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Which Tense – Past Tense or Present Tense in my resume? This has to be one of the most confusing issues for job seekers. As a professional resume writer, I think I can help you understand the whys for past and when to use present. Be aware though that my view differs from your old college books.

For the non-English majors, most of the time, past tense is when you add the “ed” to a verb. Resumes are filled with action verbs but the past tense would be words like these:

  • Engineered
  • Except for some tricky ones like “wrote”

Present tense is the verb by itself without any “ed”s added. Like this:

  • Brainstorm
  • Maximize
  • Write

Job seekers are perplexed because “someone” told them they are doing it wrong. Here’s my rule: In a past position, the action verb is always in the past tense. You are not in the job anymore, it is in your past.

Detail Your Work Experience

The work experience section is the heart of your resume. Employers look at this section closely to determine whether your job history and prior accomplishments make you a promising candidate.

Thats why its important to detail not only your job responsibilities but also your competence in prior roles. The work experience section is your chance to show recruiters and hiring managers how you have added unique value to other companies.

The first things a recruiter looks for on your resume are the job titles youve held and the caliber of companies youve worked with. Make this information easy to find by sticking to a familiar format.

List each job in reverse-chronological order. Each job should have its own subheading that includes the following information:

  • Company

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List Relevant Skills And Keywords

Resume keywords are important terms of interest that recruiters look for whether skimming a resume or searching within an applicant tracking system . The more role-specific keywordsoften hard skillsyour resume contains, the better optimized your resume is.

99 percent of Fortune 500 companies use applicant tracking systems to sort, filter, and search applicants. Some ATS, like Taleo, can automatically rank your resumes content against the job description, allowing recruiters to focus only on the best applicants. Recruiters often also search their applicant pool for important resume keywords, like customer service, accounts receivable, or Adobe Photoshop.

Where on your resume should you include important skills?

Its crucial to incorporate important skills throughout your entire resume, beginning with your headline which should, when possible, include the most relevant keyword: the job title. You can also list skills in a dedicated skills section of your resume if using the hybrid resume format.

How do you find keywords to include in your resume?

The Present Perfect In Interviews


The present perfect can be used for anything, but in an interview its great for:

  • Talking about long youve done something
  • Talking about when you started to do something
  • Since every question in an interview will be about you, eventually theyll start asking questions related to time. For example, take a look at the following:

    Q: How long have you lived in the UK?

    A: I have lived in the UK for 7 years.

    Q: How long have you studied English?

    A: I havestudied English for 10 years.

    You can use the present perfect to talk about your skills and experience, just like in a resume or cover letter. But using it to talk about how long youve done something is much more advanced. Its a great sign that you really know your English!

    Now were almost at the end and Ive saved the best for last.

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    Use The Present Continuous To Talk About Current Jobs And Future Plans

    The present continuous is used when speaking or writing in the present tense. Its important for the job application process and it should be used to:

  • Talk about your current job in cover letters, resumes and interviews
  • Talk about future plans in cover letters and in interviews
  • To form the present continuous, heres what we need:

    present tense of to be + -ing verb

    It sounds harder than it really is, I promise. For example:

    • She istalking to her daughter.
    • I amwalking to school.
    • We aregoing to start a new company.

    Since were going to be using the present continuous to talk about ourselves, we only have to use sentences starting with I am For example:

    • I am taking classes for a Masters Degree in Business.

    We can also use the present continuous to describe temporary situations and future plans. For example:

    • I am taking classes for a Masters Degree in Business until May.
    • I am taking classes for a Masters Degree next summer.

    Most of your interview and nearly all of your resume summary and cover letter will be about you. So it helps to write in something else besides the past simple and present simple tenses.

    Quantify As Much As Possible

    Anyone can say that he or she excelled at his or her last job. So, you need to prove to the hiring manager that you truly did. Numbers, percentages, and supporting facts go a long way in showing that you have a track record of success. For example, rather than saying successfully hit sales quotas as a bullet point in your resume you should say successfully hit sales quotas 100% of the time and exceeded goals by 25% in the last 5 months. You can even do this if your position doesnt involve using numbers.

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    When Should I Use Past Tense On My Cv

    You should use action verbs in the simple past tense when youre writing bullet points for:

    • Any of your previous positions
    • Any projects or tasks in your current role that you already completed

    Examples of bullet points written in the past tense include:

    • Organised conference for 5,000 attendees
    • Taught lectures to undergraduate students
    • Evaluated employee performance

    When Should I Use Present Tense On My Cv

    Past, Present, or Future? What Verb Tense to Use in a Resume

    You should use action verbs in the simple present tense on your CV when youre writing bullet points for your current role that describe:

    • Anything you do on a day-to-day basis
    • General responsibilities that you hold in your current position
    • Projects that are still ongoing

    In other words, each bullet point for your current role should start in an action verb in the present tense, such as:

    • Prepare financial reports
    • Deliver presentations to executive leadership
    • Devise and implement strategic initiatives
    • Negotiate lease agreements
    • Optimise business processes and procedures

    As a result, readers will be able to skim and process the information more quickly and thats exactly what youre looking to accomplish.

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    Tailoring Job History On A Resume For Each Application

    Instead of mass applying to every job ad on the internet with the same resume, take the time to tailor it:

    Besides the fact that 36% of hiring managers throw out resumes that dont seem personalized for a particular role, a tailored resume and application:

    • Shows the hiring manager you took the time to apply and their job wasnt one of 50 different places you sent your resume.
    • Get past the automatic keyword filtering larger companies might use to automatically screen candidates in their Applicant Tracking System . Your work experience samples need to be scanned by the machines first.
    • Tweak diverse experiences to focus on the most relevant experience for a particular job. For example if youve ever had a job wearing many hats unless youre applying for another many hats position, this strategy gives you a chance to focus your work experience on the hats that are most relevant for the new role.

    Restarting this process every time you apply for a new job may seem excessive. Ideally, the more time you put into tailoring your resume, the less jobs youll need to apply to.

    Should Resume Be In Past Or Present Tense

    First of all, the usage of tenses in your should be characterized by consistency. An unreasonable mixture of tenses leads to a confused impression. Obviously, you need to know what tense to use on resume, past or present, and simply stick to it. However, in many cases, you will actually need to resort to a mixture of both. The secret of grammatical success lies in using them according to certain rules.

    Lets imagine you have no current job. Should a resume be in past tense then? The answer is yes. So, do you use present tense on resume for a current job only? Not exactly. If you are currently engaged in volunteering or other extracurricular activities that are worth mentioning in your resume, you need to use present tense for them too.

    Some candidates dont know whether to choose resume past tense or present and it might be tempted to go for the present participle verbs. It seems much easier to put managing the team of IT specialists in your current or past duties than to decide between manage or managed. However, using this trick lessens the power of your resume. Verbs used in the present or past tense give a sense of active involvement and achievement. The -ing form, on the contrary, leaves an impression of incompleteness.

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    What Is The Resume Tense For Completed Projects In Your Current Job

    Here are my thoughts: in your present job, there are some things you have completed and will never do again. If you researched and wrote the new sales training manual, you completed the project, hence the past tense verbs: researched and wrote. If you facilitated the merger of two organizations or companies, you completed the task. This leads us to the next question.

    When To Use Present Tense

    Resume Current Job Tense Luxury Resume Current Job Past ...

    Present tense can be beneficial when describing your career objectives or listing activities that you are currently involved in. You can also use present tense when describing your current job and listing skills that you use regularly. For example, you may list manages a team of 20 interns, coordinates staff schedules and creates monthly performance reports as the responsibilities for your current job.

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    Do Not Use Contractions

    First off, weve got a general rule for resumes, cover letters, interviews and even business emails or presentations:

    Dont use contractions.

    Contractions are shortened forms of two words. For example:

    • she + will = shell
    • should + have = shouldve
    • do + not = dont

    Most of the time, writing or speaking with contractions is perfectly fine.

    A friendly Howre you doing? or Whats going on? is great for making friends. Taking contractions apart can make people sound stiff and unfriendly.

    For now, dont worry about being friends with your interviewerwe need to focus on sounding professional. And to sound professional, we cannot use contractions.

    For example, take a look at the two cover letter introductions below:

    My names Edward Conne and Im contacting you today in regards to an open Sales and Marketing Manager position at Korin, Inc. Ive been working for the past three years as a Marketing Specialist at Jennings & Borinson.

    My name is Edward Conne and I am contacting you today in regards to the open Sales and Marketing Manager position at Korin, Inc. I have been working for the past three years as a Marketing Specialist at Jennings & Borinson.

    The second introduction sounds unnatural and stiff, but thats what we want. Remember, its unprofessional to be friendly with your resume or cover letters.

    How Do I Add Experience To My Resume: What To Include

    In most cases, choosing which jobs to include on your resume should depend on your work history and the type of job youre applying for. In general, work in a backward chronological order starting with your most recent position at the top of the page and include the last 10-15 years of employment history. The backward chronological order works best for most job seekers.

    If you have a scattered work history, dont stress. Job hopping is both more common and more widely accepted today, especially among the younger workforce. Including short part-time stints and side projects is good if those professional experiences directly relate to the job or feature skills that overlap with the position. Be prepared to answer questions about your career choices while considering work experience in cv, have a confident answer about your career path, and be forthcoming about the level of commitment youre looking for. Once youve chosen the positions, lets dive into the specific bullet points about work experience in a cv. Each one should include:

    How do I write a student CV? A student CVfor a first job should contain full details on your education and ideally also contain details on any student jobs or volunteer work that you have done while you were studying. It doesn’t matter how menial this work was, the most important thing is that you understand the responsibility of doing a paid day’s work.

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    When To Use Present Tense On A Resume

    Youll use present tense on your resume anytime youre describing something thats currently happening. Present-tense verbs primarily belong in your resume summary and descriptions of your current job duties and ongoing accomplishments because those are about who you are and what youre doing right now. If your resume headline has a verb or if there are any activities, volunteer work, or projects youre currently working on outside of a full-time job, those should use the present tense as well. Basically, if the date range ends with Present, thats a good indicator you should be using the present tense, Smith says.

    Heres an example resume summary that uses present tense:

    Personable and motivated SaaS account manager who takes pride in finding the right solutions and products for every client through individual attention and relationship building. Team player who is always willing to help others and has a strong track record of reducing churn.

    Polish Up Your Grammar And Formatting

    Get a better job: Power Verbs for Resume Writing

    Resume writing is a unique style. It can be tricky to remember which tense to use or when to omit pronouns. How can you use language to tell a more compelling story? Which fonts and formats are ATS-friendly? Lets take a look.

    Resume Fonts

    Its important to use a font that is easy to read on screen, ATS-compatible, and commonly available. A few traditional resume fonts to consider include Helvetica, Garamond, or Georgia. Avoid using script fonts or custom fonts unless you are a designer. Dont use a font size below 10.

    Tense and Pronouns

    Use past tense when talking about jobs in the past, and present tense when describing the work you are currently doing. Traditional resume writing leaves out personal pronouns and gets right to the action. Ex. Spearheaded a new email marketing initiative that increased revenue by 10 percent.

    Resume Action Words

    Action verbs help liven up your writing, making your resume more readable for recruiters and hiring managers. Consider beginning each bullet point on your resume with an action verb and replacing generic verbs like managed or led with more engaging words like mentored or accelerated.

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    Think About The Person Reading Your Resume

    Its important to remember that theres a real person reading this. And its also important to remember that its her job to find awesome candidates to interview and present to her boss or team. Its also not her job to do you any favors. So you should think about her when youre writing your resume. How can you make her job easier? How can you write your resume in such a way that she gets excited when she sees it, thinks youre perfect for the job, and is willing to put herself out there by presenting you to her team.

    Wordsmithing Your Resume: Tenses Plurals And Optimized Keywords

    If youre unsure whether to write your resume in past tense or present tense, traditional advice sides with common sense. If youre describing something in your past, use past tense. Managed, coded, designed, marketed. If youre describing something youre still doing in your current job, use present tense. Manage, code, design, market.

    Simple enough, right? Not so fast.

    If someone is actually reading your resume top to bottom, that advice is sufficient. But most large companies use software that adds a layer of complexity to your word choices that extends beyond past and present tenses. Every resume keyword must be carefully considered.

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