Prepping Your Resume: A Few Tips To Boost Your Interview Chances

From Dr. John Sullivan and job search science research by TalentWorks

Modifying the content of your resume will dramatically boost your interview chances!

TalentWorks’ research quantifies just how much the following resume content actions will boost your chances of getting an interview. The highest impact of resume/application actions is listed first.

  •    Start your sentences with action verbs – a 140% boost — Distinct action words really make a difference including created, developed, acted, discovered, took charge, analyzed, etc.
  •    Include key skills – a 59% boost — Most people should add 15-20 skills to their resume. These skills might include technical skills like coding and sales as well as soft skills like communications, collaboration, teamwork and being self-motivated.
  •     Include leadership words – a 51% boost — Adding strong, active, leadership-oriented words will also help you. They recommend adding strong, active words like led, leadership, managed, organized, directed, oversaw, etc.
  •     Demonstrate results with numbers – a 40% boost — Using concrete numbers increases your hireability results. I would also add the importance of quantifying your accomplishments in dollars.
  •     Add industry buzzwords – a 29% boost — Keywords are critical for human, LinkedIn and ATS searches. So be sure you include all of the important functional, corporate values and industry words and phrases found in the relevant job description.

These resume mistakes may actually hurt you!

Research by TalentWorks shows that there are certain actions that can actually diminish your chances of getting an interview. Those mistakes include:

  •   Don’t use personal pronouns – a 55% negative hit — People who used even one personal pronoun in their employment section had a significantly lower chance of getting an interview callback (it is OK to use them in the objective or professional summary section). Some examples of the pronouns to avoid are: I, me, mine, myself, we, us and ours.
  •    Don’t (only) be a “Team Player” – a 51% negative hit — This advice is a little counter-intuitive. Yes, it’s good to say that you are a team player, but it’s also important to reveal that you have also owned, managed or directed. Be aware that many collaborative words also have passive, subordinate, weasel-word undertones, which could imply you passively follow the team too often.
  • Don’t include a career objective – a 29.6% negative hit Job applicants whose resume contained an objective were less hireable than those who didn’t specify an explicit objective. Providing a career objective may inadvertently reveal that you’re only starting your career and that you are not very experienced. Providing a professional summary is a superior approach.



By Carol Maldonado
Carol Maldonado Career Coach Carol Maldonado