Using Past Tense On A Resume
Use the past tense on a resume for any accomplishments that you’ve already completed and all past jobs, for example:
– Launched Miami office with lead Director and recruited and managed new team of 10 employees grew office revenue by 200% in first nine months .– Designed training and peer-mentoring programs for the incoming class of 25 analysts in 2017 reduced onboarding time for new hires by 50%. – Led the transition to a paperless practice by implementing an electronic booking system and a faster, safer, and more accurate business system reduced cost of labor by 30% and office overhead by 10%– – Directed agency fundraising revenue generation, daily program business operations, community outreach membership recruitment, and human resources in 30 suburbs in the city for organizations with assets of $8M.– Served as the product sale fundraising campaign manager and directed 100 volunteer chairpersons increased fundraising donations by 40%.– Negotiated a settlement of a $2M lawsuit with under $5,000 of outside legal fees.– Increased customer retention 10% and reactivated dormant consumers through weekly email campaigns.– Took lead on the migration of the company’s Microsoft SQL to MySQL project. This included updating 30 client-facing websites and one internal administration site– Promoted within 18 months due to strong performance and organizational impact .
Choose The Right Tense To Beat The Applicant Tracking System
The majority of recruiters today use the ATS to find relevant keywords in candidates documents. As people have since learned, the tense used in an application can affect the ATSs search and results. For example, if you use the past tense in your resume and say examined when the vacancy announcement said examine, you can be sure that the system will miss your result.
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If Youre Not Sure What Tense To Use
If you arent certain whether you should list something in past or present tense, always default to past tense. Even in cases where present tense may be more appropriate, past tense is never wrong and is unlikely to look strange to a hiring manager. Using present tense incorrectly, on the other hand, may raise a few red flags.
Past Tense Vs Present Tense
Past tense refers to words that end in -ed and usually describe past actions, while present tense refers to the original verb. A present tense resume item describes what you are currently doing, such as I communicate with others or advocates for clients. The same items can be written in the past tense to refer to past responsibilities like communicated with others or advocated for clients. Usually, past and present tense should not be mixed within the same sentence or bullet point to avoid confusing language.
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The Difference Between Present Tense And Past Tense
The first thing we need to look at closely is the difference between Present and Past Tense.
It may be a while since youve been in an English class, so weve got a little guide for recognizing the differences between the two tenses.
- Present tense verbs describe events that are happening as we speak. They can also describe continuous events or actions. Typically, these words dont have any endings, but sometimes they end with -s.
- Past tense verbs describe events that have already taken place. Generally, these words end with -ed, but there are exceptions that have a unique past form.
When To Use Past Tense On A Resume
Most of your resume should be in the past tense because the bulk of your resume space is taken up by pastwork experiences. Use past tense for sections of your resume you are no longer doing, Smith says. This means your previous jobs, completed accomplishments, volunteering or other activities youre no longer participating in, awards youve won, certifications youve earned, or education youve completed.
A bullet point for a past job might look like this:
- Conceived, planned, scheduled, and wrote copy for 20+ social media posts weekly for Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook
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Present Tense Resume Elements
If you’d like to include some present tense verbs on your resume, you should use these exclusively for responsibilities that you still perform. Thus, you may choose to list all your responsibilities for your current job in present tense while listing the responsibilities for past positions in past tense.
If you’re filling out a resume with minimal job experience, you may choose to include extracurricular activities or work on volunteer projects. You may mention these in the present tense only if you’re still involved in them.
If you’ve graduated from college, any activities you participated in while there would remain in past tense. However, if you’re mentioning your work with, say, Habitat for Humanity and you’re still active in the organization, it’s appropriate to use present tense.
Is It Better To Use Past Or Present Tense
There actually is an easy answer to this one resumes should be written in past tense. Why? The simple answer is, your resume should be about your accomplishments. In other words, you should be writing about things youve already achieved, which means using past tense.
The biggest mistake most people make on their resumes is listing job duties rather than accomplishments. Using present tense in your bullet points is usually a pretty good sign that youre focusing on your responsibilities, which isnt what hiring managers care about. To keep the focus where it belongs, think about what youve already had success with and write down what youve done not what youre currently doing or what you intend to do in the future.
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How To Write A Resume: Past Or Present Tense
When writing your resume, you may wonder whether you should use past or present tense. The resume tense you use depends on the type of resume you are writing and the accomplishments or responsibilities you are including in the document.
In this article, we explain when and how to use past tense or present tense and when it is appropriate to use both past and present tense in a certain section.
Should I Write My Resume In Past Or Present Tense
So this is you: stuck with a job you either never liked very much, or feel you’ve outgrown.
Problem is, your resume feels stale, and it needs updating. You want something clean and professional, that highlights your experience and your skills. But the key to creating a truly successful resume is nailing all the tiny details. Verb tense is one of those!
Many people don’t know when to use past or present tense in their resume bullets.
A simple rule of thumb is: if it happened at a previous job, list those responsibilities in the past tense if it’s at your current job, use present tense. Let’s break down an example below, and give you one less thing to worry about while job hunting.
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How To Choose A Resume Tense
To help you choose the right resume tense, use the following guidelines:
Use past tense for past jobs.
Use present tense for current jobs.
Avoid combining present and past tense under one heading.
Use future tense when applying for an internship or when referring to your goals in your resume objective.
Use Past Tense For Past Jobs
If you are referring to previous employers that you’re no longer with, use the past tense. List every accomplishment and responsibility in the past tense. The same is true for volunteer positions or extracurricular activities that you have had in the past but are no longer a part of.
To keep things simple, some people prefer to list all the elements of their resume in the past tense. If you don’t have an idea where you should switch to the present tense or you are worried about the consistency of your resume, listing all resume elements in the past tense is a good strategy that reduces some of the stress of putting together your resume.
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First Or Third Person: What’s Better On A Resume
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.
A Guide To Choosing The Right Resume Tense
When writing a resume, you want to make sure that it’s a flawless representation of your skills, expertise and current job history. Your resume should be well-organized, easy to read, professional and stand out to hiring managers. Using the proper resume tense or tenses is one detail that helps you make a good impression on hiring managers if done correctly.
In this article, we discuss the importance of using the correct resume tense, how to choose a resume tense and offer examples of both past tense and present verbs that you can use to write an effective and polished resume.
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When To Use Present Tense
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.
Avoid Combining Present And Past Tense Under One Heading
To keep a sense of consistency throughout your resume, avoid combining past and present tense under the same heading. For instance, if you’ve had two or more positions within the same organization or company, it can sometimes look confusing to have both present and past tense for a position that has basically the same job title but different roles. In this case, it would be best to keep your resume to the past tense only.
You may only combine past and present tense if you have a current job for which you are listing as accomplishments and responsibilities. Keep specific accomplishments in the past because you completed it. Job responsibilities would stay in the present tense because they are ongoing. List the current responsibilities first, followed by your past accomplishments, as this mirrors the way you demonstrate your entire career history in the chronological order. Here’s an example of how a list of past accomplishments and present responsibilities should be listed:
Supervise the team of 10 customer support agent
Manage the work of the sales department
Carry out strategic development
Developed a performance appraisal system
Implemented an effective employee training program
You can use both tenses in a resume as long as you adhere to the rules for resume tense usage. Using this approach creates a sense of commitment and carefulness, which an attentive hiring manager is likely to notice.
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Why Is Verb Tense Important
Using the correct verb tense can make your resume easier to read for employers and easier for them to scan through their applicant tracking system. When used correctly and consistently, the verb tense you choose can highlight key qualifications and indicate your level of involvement in various activities. Regardless of which verb tense you choose for your resume, it should be as consistent as possible throughout each section of your resume in order to increase readability.
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We are all done.
Now you know when to use present tense, and when to use past tense.
You are now ready to build every section in the best possible grammatical way.
Dont forget our tips and tricks, and make the best out of them.
Check out our example once again and get you your next interview in no time.
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Should You Use The Past Or Present Tense In A Resume
You should generally use the past tense when writing your resume. But there are exceptions where the present tense may be more appropriate. Here are some specific examples.
10 months ago 7 min read
When writing your resume, sometimes its the little details that matter the most like whether to write in past or present tense. Both seem like valid choices past tense makes sense when talking about things youve done in the past, while present tense makes things sound fresh and immediate. So, which one to choose?
When Should I Use Present Tense On My Cv
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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Should A Resume Be Written In Past Or Present Tense
Both past and present tense can be appropriate in a resume. However, most resume items make the most sense when written in past tense because they describe previous experience and accomplishments. Present tense should only be used in a resume when describing an ongoing activity, such as the responsibilities of a current position or your resumes objective. Regardless of your decision, you should use the same word tense throughout each section of your resume and your choice should accurately reflect your experience.
If You Feel Unsure Stick With Past Tense
Whenever youre in doubt about which tense to use, choose the past tense.
It is the safe way to go.
Furthermore, if you use too many present time verbs, the hiring manager might get confused and wonder why youre talking about a few different jobs.
Make sure you use the present tense only if you are confident in your ability to use both tenses.
If you do it right, it is preferred to use both, as it is usually the clearest way to communicate.
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Using Both Tenses In Your Resume
If therere activities in your present occupation that are terminated or if you just want to showcase the accomplishments you have attained, then you can use the present and past tense simultaneously under a single heading. Firstly, you will have to pen your present responsibilities in the present tense. After that, you can wind up on the section with the fished actions and achievements in the past tense.
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Why Does The Proper Use Of Resume Tense Matter
Proper usage of resume tense is an absolute must because while describing your past achievements and your current profession, there should be no room for confusion or misunderstanding.
Mixing past and present tenses on your resume would result in unnecessary confusion in the mind of the recruiter.
Considering that most recruiters spend very little time in assessing resumes, it becomes apparent for a job applicant to take care of the resume tenses so that the employer does not confuse what you have already accomplished with what you are currently pursuing.
Some examples to demonstrate the usage of proper resume tense:
Best Practices For Choosing A Resume Verb Tense
When to use past tense on a resume:
Write your previous professional experiences in the past tense. Old jobs, past volunteer experiences, and details of your education should all be written using the past tense, as they well happened in the past!
Exampleof past tense on a resume:
You can also use past tenseon your resume to describe previous accomplishments in your bullet points. More on this later
When to use present tense on a resume:
Use the present tense to describe absolutely anything youre still doing at the time of writing your resume.
Write your current job, any ongoing activities, or your education in the present tense.
Heres an easy trick to remember this: If youve written Present instead of an end date for an experience, useyou guessed it! The present tense.
Remember the exception:
Theres one exception to the above rules on resume verb tense: while you should write your current job in the present tense, write specific accomplishments from it in the past tense.
This rule makes sense the accomplishments youre listing for your current job have already happened in the past, thats why you can list them!
Heres an example:
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