When you apply for a job or a contract, you have to rely on written words to express your education, experience and personality. So it’s really important to choose the right words.
And yet, it’s tough to market ourselves, and we tend to underplay our abilities. I have to push myself to say, “I’m a good writer,” rather than wording it more carefully as “I’ve been told I’m a good writer” or “I enjoy writing.”
I recently helped my sister with her resume and a couple of cover letters, and I realized the importance of using “power words” – words that express energy and ability and personality. Here are a few examples based on my sister’s cover letters.
Lesson #1: Clearly outline what you have to offer.
Good: “I look forward to contributing my skills to maximize the success of your organization.”
Better: “My passion for ___, combined with a wealth of practical experience in ___ and ___, will strengthen your organization’s mission to provide world-class training and community leadership.”
Lesson #2: Express energy and confidence.
Good: “Experience in coordinating logistical aspects of functions”
Better: “Ease and confidence in coordinating all aspects of event scheduling and facilitation”
Lesson #3: Include words that the employer has used in the job ad or on their website.
Good: “A team player who excels at collaborating and strategizing to achieve success”
Better: “A team player who excels at initiating and contributing to successful project management” (the ad specifically asked for project management skills)
Lesson #4: Focus on meeting the employer’s needs.
Good: “I hope to meet with you soon to discuss my application further.”
Better: “I look forward to meeting with you very soon to better understand your needs.”
Lesson #5: Express self confidence.
Good: “I hope to meet with you”
Better: “I look forward to meeting with you”
For more help in writing successful resumes and cover letters, see:
Writing a Killer Resume
Resumes: Identifying and Describing Your Talents
Resumes: Position Yourself for your Dream Job
5 Tips for Eye-Catching Resume Cover Letters
Resume + Portfolio = Success
Want a job? What do you have to offer?