5 Tips on How to Write a Resume – Show, Don’t Tell

5 Tips on How to Write a Resume – Show, Don’t Tell


Simply put, in the job search process, your resume is your story. To ensure your resume does the job you need it to in front of a prospective employer, it’s important your resume tells your story, not by telling at all, but instead by showing.  Showing instead of telling is done through consistency, metrics, and avoiding cliche phrase.

Use these 5 resume writing tips to demonstrate examples of your skills through tangible, successful outcomes, to help the potential employer quantify your abilities.

1. Consistency 

Tailor your resume so the information matches the specific skill sets mentioned in the job description, mirroring your prospective employer’s language where you can. For instance, if you are looking for a job in accounting, be sure to highlight your work in this field significantly, and mention the specific skills and experience you gained in this space to-date, as opposed to detailing your experience working in retail. 

2. Highlight your Hard Skills and Soft Skills

Hard skills are teachable abilities like computer, administrative, or customer service skills. By contrast, soft skills are people-oriented and cultural skills, such as interpersonal, communication, relationship-building abilities, and other qualities that enable you to be successful in the workplace.

Both types of skills may be included on a resume and in an effective cover letter. The key is focusing your specific skill sets to the job requirements but also showing the full picture of what you bring to a role and an organization as a skilled asset and team player.

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3. Provide Metrics  

It’s a fact that 17% of hiring managers spend 30 seconds or less reviewing resumes, and 68% spend less than two minutes, according to a national survey by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder.

This proves two effects that are critically important to you as a job seeker:

  1. Numbers provide a measurable outcome to your skills and they draw the eye.
  2. Decoding the job description and providing metrics to demonstrate your skill sets is essential to capturing an employer’s attention and securing the interview. 

4. Avoid Cliche Phrases 

Bloated resumes are filled with words that talk around your skills and say nothing about your actual accomplishments. Hiring managers and recruiters have a trained eye to these fluff words and will perceive a poor impression of your abilities. Phrases like results-driven, team player, jack-of-all-trades, thought leader, and detail-oriented, just to name a few- are big-time resume turn-offs.

Instead, focus on more descriptive words that enhance the telling of your story by showing an example of how your experience specifically applies. Some examples include:

  • Achieved
  • Improved
  • Trained/Mentored
  • Managed
  • Created
  • Resolved
  • Increased/Decreased
  • Negotiated
  • Launched
  • Revenue/Profits

5. Position Yourself for Top Success!

Overall, the best advice for positioning yourself and your skills as strong assets and valuable talents that will whet your prospective employer’s curiosity is to make your story compelling, and tell your story in a short concise manner by showing examples and using real metrics and facts where possible. Avoid the fluff words and focus on the best resume terms that employers like to see on resumes, and focus on the role and task at hand and you’ll be unstoppable in a hiring situation!

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Sparks Group is a staffing and recruiting agency with a proven record of success in matching administrative, technical, creative and professional talent to exciting new positions, at the best companies. We have been helping candidates find their ideal new job for nearly half a century. Our firm has deep connections with many of the leading companies in Maryland, Virginia, DC, North Carolina, and beyond. Contact us today to speak with a recruiter or view our job board

Written by Sparks Group

Sparks Group

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