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Explaining Résumé Tense

By September 15, 2018February 4th, 2019Career Tips, Resumes

Résumés use a unique style of writing to emphasize brevity in order to maximize the reader’s time. Many people find this style of writing a bit confusing when they first encounter it, so I wanted to clarify for you how résumés are written.

  • Résumés use a version of first-person style, but omit the subject (“I” / “me” / “my”).
  • We use present tense for activities you currently perform, and past tense for past activities and achievements (particularly for older positions on your résumé, but also to describe responsibilities you once performed in your current job, but no longer do).
  • To emphasize brevity, we remove most articles (“a” / “an” / “the” / “my”), except when doing so would hurt the readability of the sentence.
  • We write in a strong, active style, emphasizing action verbs (“direct” / “manage” / “conduct” / “develop”) instead of passive descriptions of activity.
  • Most often, numbers one through nine are spelled out; numbers 10 and above are expressed as numbers.

If you have any specific questions about the language used in your résumé, let me know! Otherwise, please be assured that I have written your résumé to conform to the generally accepted principles of résumé writing.

Author Carolyn Whitfield

6X TORI-Winning, Multi-Certified Resume Master & Coach ★ 12+ Yrs Expertise ★ 98% Client Interview-Winning Success Rate. As an executive resume expert who has carved a strong reputation in the resume industry, I’ve helped thousands of rising stars and executives worldwide ascend to the next step on the career ladder.

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