The first thing to do when you add a position to your resume

|
The first thing to do when you add a position to your resume
Image Credit: Dreamstime
Team Clark is adamant that we will never write content influenced by or paid for by an advertiser. To support our work, we do make money from some links to companies and deals on our site. Learn more about our guarantee here.
Advertisement

If you haven’t looked at your resume in more than a year, there’s no time like the present to dust it off and update it so that you’re ready when the perfect job opportunity comes along.

Hiring managers may only spend 10 seconds looking at it, so you want to grab their attention immediately.

RELATED: This is the resume format most hiring managers want to see

Should I write my resume in present or past tense?

The wrong way to get noticed is by having a resume full of spelling and grammatical errors, but there’s a common mistake that’s much easier to overlook: verb tense.

The general rule of thumb is to use present tense for current positions and past tense for previous positions.

Present tense = Present job
Past tense = Past job

For instance, you wouldn’t write in the present tense — “Manage a team of 15 retail associates” — for a job that you left five years ago because you’re no longer managing that team.

However, there are exceptions to this resume rule when it comes to your current job.

There are times when it’s perfectly acceptable to mix present and past tense, according to Lisa Rangel, managing director of ChameleonResumes.com:

“If you are not currently doing a function anymore in your current job, but clearly used to do it at some point, using a past tense verb to describe something that is completed in your current job is acceptable. Mixing tenses in your current job is not problematic, since you are currently not doing everything at the same time.”

For example, you would write in the past tense — “Hired and trained summer interns” — for a responsibility at your current job that you no longer have and won’t do again.

On the other hand, present tense is the way to go for responsibilities that are still part of your current job.

Updating your resume? Do this first!

Bottom line: When you sit down to add a position to your resume, the first thing you should do is check the verb tenses and put past positions in the past tense!

RELATED: Career expert reveals 9 secrets to resume success

Advertisement
Mike Timmermann About the author:
Michael Timmermann paid off his mortgage in two years. Now, he shares his money-saving tips on his blog, Save on Almost Everything.
View More Articles
  • Show Comments Hide Comments