Resume Tips: How to Effectively List your Job Duties

6 seconds. On average, hiring managers glance over your resume for 6 seconds before deciding whether or not to pick up the phone and call you. Your job duties consume the majority of your resume, and it’s important that every word you use is strategic. Here are some tips on how to effectively list your job duties on your resume.

Less is more.

Listing every single task you have ever completed in a professional setting on your resume is a common mistake we often see. Again, you have 6 seconds of the reader’s attention, so make those 6 seconds count. Blocks of paragraphs are difficult to read fast, and the recruiter may choose not to review your resume at all if there is too much. Make sure you are listing your job duties using bullet points.

When tweaking your resume, think about the following two questions before typing each and every bullet point:

  1. Is this relevant for the position I’m applying for?
  2. Is this an impressive accomplishment or something that is common knowledge?

You want to showcase only the best accomplishments for each job you had, and only mention duties that relate to the position you are applying to.

If you had very similar duties for two different jobs, split the duties up between the two rather than copy and pasting the same exact description. Listing the same duties twice is not an effective use of space, and makes your resume appear less impressive.

Pro Tip: In regards to “less is more”, you don’t need to put every position you have ever had on your resume either. However, if you are concerned that they will question the gap in employment, you can list the company and position, but you can leave out the duties if they don’t apply.

Start all bullet points with an action verb.

Each bullet point should start with an action verb, or better yet, an action verb used in the job description of the job you are applying to. Using key words from the job description will help convince the hiring manager that you are capable of doing the job, and if all else fails, it will at least get you through the company’s ATS. Some larger organizations use Applicant Tracking Systems to filter out resumes for them by setting keywords, and you want to make sure your resume makes it through to the hiring manager.

We often come across resumes with multiple duties beginning with “Responsible for”, rather than a verb. Using this phrase is adding extra, unneeded words to your resume, masking the important point you are trying to make. Instead of using “Responsible for processing payroll”, use “Processed payroll for 250+ employees”. For a list of various action verbs, click here.

Quantify as much as you can.

If you can find a way to quantify an accomplishment or job duty, you should. Quantifying an accomplishment not only shows that you did something, but helps paint the picture of how well you did it. Instead of simply stating that you increased monthly sales, mention by how much and in what time frame. Showcasing numbers and results will make your resume stand out.

Tense matters.

Tense does matter on your resume. All previous positions should be in the past tense, as you are no longer performing those duties. If you are still employed while interviewing, your current position should be in the present tense.

Be unique.

Your resume is a brief overview of your professional story. Pulling cliché summary statements and fake sounding job duties off the internet will automatically put your resume in the ‘no’ pile. The internet is great for resume template examples or to find the right descriptive words to use, but it’s important to make your resume unique and true to your own story.