Have you ever wished you could scientifically test your resume — tweaking it a bit and then sending out the new and the old versions to see which got more responses? But of course, in the whirlwind of job seeking, that is near impossible. Plus, with only so many applications and a variety of types of positions, it’s hard to know whether it’s your resume changes or some other factor that determined whether you got a call.
But in theory, if the data set were big enough, an experiment into which words are resume winners — and losers — is possible. Handily, Experience blog had just such a data set in the form of a survey of hiring managers in which they were asked to grade the quality of resumes. (Even better for ELR readers, all the resumes were for entry-level work).
The blog asked resume scoring firm RezScore to apply a nifty bit of maths known as term frequency–inverse document frequency to the resumes to figure out which words were unique to each resume and then looked to see if these words were correlated with high approval ratings from hiring managers. So what words were guaranteed to get you noticed straight out of school?
- Dean’s List
Check out the complete post to learn exactly how big a boost you get from each word. And once you’ve added as many of these killer terms as possibly to your resume, what then? According to MonsterThinking, you’re not done yet. The blog argues you also need to cut the deadwood out of your resume, removing all the bland, meaningless terms that litter most CVs and reduce the impact of your carefully chosen phrasing.
What are some examples? MonsterThinking has a full list but a few examples are self-evident space wasters like “References available upon request” and mind-numbing cookie cutter phrases such as “proactive, hard-working and team player.”
Come on, admit it, some of those snooze inducers might just have made it to onto your CV. Time to start trimming.