Superlatives Are Best. Adjectives, Mediocre.

When describing yourself in order to land a job interview, offer facts that can be evaluated: accomplishments, track record, what makes you unique. If you were first, fastest, best, brought in the most business or clients or fans, you need to highlight those accomplishments because they will catch your reader’s attention.

Adjectives? Not nearly as effective. Not only are adjectives subjective (everyone can claim to be enthusiastic, but what does that really mean?), they are mostly meaningless filler. Supervising projects or teams, working quickly or efficiently, exhibiting great attention to detail, being a go-getter – everyone can claim these qualities, true or not. Be specific; “I supervised tons of associates” becomes “I supervised teams of up to 549 colleagues.” “I completed a big project really fast” is better as “I finished a projected nine-day project in four days.” “I paint super quick” becomes “I designed and painted 43 billboards in 17 days.”

Adjectives can be helpful when you are aiming for a job you have not held. You may be right out of school with no applicable work experience. You may be reentering the workforce after raising children or spending time in the witness protection program. Or you may be trying to enter a new field, say transitioning from banking to selling sailboats. In these cases the main thing you have to hang your hat on is your adjectives. If you’re right out of school, your study habits, research skills, punctuality and positive attitude are probably the large part of what you have to offer, so offer them. Remember, though: your second resume after entering the work force will reflect your actual experience, so the adjectives, and just about everything else aside from your name and phone number, will most likely be replaced by tangible accomplishments.

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