Duty Format for Résumés
Remember, when you describe your past work experience on your résumés, use simple, direct verbs like “Managed,” “Supervised,” “Served,” or “Balanced.” Try your best not to use the following vague expressions that seem to pervade many ineffective résumés.
In pre-pandemic times, I would ask students to get into groups and describe the following duties/responsibilities using simple, direct verbs like you would on the “Work Experience” section of your résumé. Below are some common phrases we use for résumés, but I have alternatives below them.
- Customer service
- Greet customers…Assist customers with purchases…
- Cash handling experience
- Maintain cash register…Balance daily accounts…Record sales…Check customers out with…
- Responsible for program to benefit hurricane victims
- Organized hurricane/disaster relief effort…
- Problem solver
- Find solutions to [specific] issues…Identify and fix security flaws…
- Interaction with patrons at a receptionist area
- Greet customers/patrons/clients…Receive visitors and schedule visits with…
- Responsible for the actions of 12 employees
- Supervise 12 employees…
- Company/Organization budget of $100,000
- Allocate resources for our $100,000 annual budget…Oversee operations for an organization with a $100,000 budget…
- In charge of day-to-day operations
- Manage operations…Supervise day-to-day operations…
- Please note that “day-to-day” is a little vague if you’re not applying for a new job within the same company.
- Responsibilities include, cash register, window-dressing appearance, restocking
- Maintain cash register…Create window displays…Restock items…
- Responsible for company sales and customer service
- Supervise sales team and customer service training…
- I have had the following duties: register utilization, customer interfacing, and sanitation implementation
- Utilize cash register…Interface with customers…Implement sanitation protocols…
- Please be aware that some readers are put off by terms like “utilize” and “implement.” That’s a conversation for a different class, though. (Perhaps ENGL 4183 “Editing with Digital Technologies” in Fall 2020)
- Quality Control/Quality Assurance duties: basically, this deals with making sure someone else did something right (i.e. QA in a restaurant means making sure the kitchen cooked the right meal, kept off the mayo, and got the food out quickly)
- Prepared food for delivery…Ensured orders were accurately made before delivery…Corrected incomplete of wrong orders prior to delivery…
- To follow the above, you could add that such initiatives reduced returns, food loss, customer ire, etc.
- Account/Treasurer/Bookkeeper for the Latinx club
- Kept the Latinx Club books…Maintained the Latinx Club’s finances…Cleared expenses for the Latinx Club…
- In charge of troubleshooting
- Troubleshoot/shot* bugs in the program…Find and correct errors in the code…Find ways to make programs for efficient…
Cover Letter to Analyze
Here is an example of a cover letter. Notice that she explains how both her work experience and education make her an ideal candidate. She doesn’t just tell the reader she “has excellent skills related to the job”; she proves it by using specific examples. The following cover letter isn’t perfect, but it’s a great start and offers us ideas to consider for cover letters.
I am writing in response to the ad online for an entry level advertising position specifically to work with Creative Loafing magazine. I am currently working with the WEND Radio Group and assisting with their quarterly magazine Charlotte Now but would like more involvement. I feel my experiences and the position with Creative Loafing are a perfect combination. In addition, I will graduate with a Bachelors of Science in Marketing in December 2020.
As my resume shows, I have the foundation that is required for the position with Creative Loafing.
- I have been responsible for collecting advertisements and creating articles for Charlotte Now.
- Also, I have worked directly with our art director at Plow Studios, the advertising director at Salem Radio Group, and the clients who have advertisements in Charlotte Now.
- I have even assisted some of our clients by creating their advertisements.
My college courses will also aid in working with Creative Loafing.
- I can use Adobe Photoshop, which is my desktop publishing software package of choice for creating advertisements.
- I have also had multiple marketing classes (including consumer behavior), which offer me strategies for consulting clients and evaluating markets.
- I write everyday for my online blog, and I have a minor in English that keeps me writing numerous papers, which continue to improve my communication skills.
Notice how she states her qualifications in a topic sentence, but then offers the reader examples that show she’s qualified. Of course, she could add a couple more examples of her duties or skills and a phrase such as “as my résumé shows…” to make her cover letter much stronger, but the above paragraphs are a good start. One problem, though, is that she starts each sentence with “I —.” How do we change that? It’s tough. Check out p. 317–4th ed.; p. 349–3rd ed.; or p. 307–2nd ed. in Tabeaux & Dragga. That example uses “I…” to start most sentences. Try to vary your sentences with adverbial phrases, such as, “After graduating…,” “Before my study abroad trip…,” “My internship offered great experience in these areas…”
It’s ok to use bullet points, but ask yourself if they enhance your delivery, or if you’re just trying to take up space.