The Résumé Rider: The Importance of Using Action Keywords in your Résumé

Imagine you’ve just prepared and served an amazing dinner and one of your guests inquires, “This dinner tastes fantastic! What’s in it that tastes so good?” Would you respond by saying, “Let me tell you about the ingredients: I drove to Stop & Shop and when I turned into the parking lot I went to Section 3 and pulled into a parking space near the shopping carts. I pulled out one shopping cart after another from the nearby cart stand until I found a cart that had wheels that weren’t broken. I then pushed the shopping cart through the parking lot until I got to the main doors then entered the one marked ‘Welcome.’ Rather than go right to the spices aisle, I started in the deli department to shop for the kids’ sandwiches for next week.” 

 You haven’t even begun to give your guest the information she’s looking for! And, that’s exactly what the majority of résumés do: they give a recruiter a mundane list of all the daily tasks that the candidate performs on the job without ever highlighting his or her accomplishments. Job hunters fill up their résumé shopping cart with everything they can think of that they do at work then leave it to the recruiter to figure out why they are a viable candidate. It’s no wonder that the most often heard lament I hear from job searches is, “I never get a call after I submit my résumé.” Hmmm, wonder why.

A prospective employer wants to know in the first few seconds of reading your résumé what you accomplished that you can do at his or her company to help solve a problem.  Using action keywords in your résumé enables you to:

1. Make a strong first impression

2. Energetically demonstrate your achievements and ability to succeed

3. Show what you can bring to the job you’re applying for

4. Score high on keyword matches to those in the job description

5. Demonstrate that you are READY TO TAKE ACTION!


But, HOW you use action keywords makes all the difference in the world. When you quantify your accomplishments, you make it easier for hiring managers to imagine the value you can bring to their organization. Without quantifying your action keywords, you’re basically saying: “I don’t know my worth and I’m just trying to make myself sound successful.” Hiring managers spend about six seconds skimming over a résumé before either tossing it or reading on. Use action keywords to get their attention right away by following the DESIGN YOU “Keyword KEY 3.” Here are some examples:

 KEYWORD     ACTIVITY                                   QUANTIFY

Exceeded          Q3 & Q4 2017 sales plan      by 130%

Reduced           telecommunications costs    by $180,000

Improved          call response time                      by 38%

Increased          average order size                     by $231

Be specific. Include only those achievements that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Quantify your achievements. Place them early in your résumé in your achievements section right before your Core Skills. 

Ride safe and WRITE SAFE!




Contact The Résumé Rider and schedule a FREE 15-minute call:

Contact The Résumé Rider and schedule a FREE 15-minute call:



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