The Death of the Verb, Rise of the Noun

By CAREEREALISM-Approved Expert, Joshua Waldman You and I have both heard the typical line from career counselors, “Use power verbs in your resume." Right? They’ve even given us lists of verbs to begin sentences like: - Managed team of 10 engineers in highly competitive RFP process. - Resolved difficult customer service issue for high stakes sale. - Safeguarded company position through advanced marketing strategy. The problem with all of these verbs is online, verbs are not as powerful as nouns. Thanks to search engines, and by extension, resume crawling software HR departments use to pre-filter candidates, your use of nouns can either get you a job or keep you in the unemployment line.

The New Rules of Resume Language

I’m not suggesting you pack in as many nouns that relate to your field as possible. Keep it real, and change the focus from verbs to nouns. The trick is to balance your use of verbs for your human readers and nouns for your robot readers. Careful. If you take this too far, your online resume might look like this: Manager, team player and oriented marketing professional with 10 years experience managing, leading teams and running advertising for large companies that have managers and teams. Make sure to write for people, but make sure to use the right combination of nouns. Too many nouns get red flagged and discarded. Sentences that don’t make sense are also thrown out. Enjoying this article? You could get the best career advice daily by subscribing to us via e-mail.

Where Do I Find My Nouns?

Because you are targeting specific jobs at specific companies, no one can give you a list. There are many tools to help you, however, but the best one comes directly from the company you are targeting! Here are the steps I tell clients to grow their noun list:
  1. Collect 5-10 job postings from the company and/or position you are looking for (Hmm, I guess job boards are good for one thing!)
  2. Highlight the nouns that seem to be recurring over and over again.
  3. Jot down the nouns with the highest occurrences, make a list of 10.
Now you know what words to weave into your resume and social media profile for your target company. Did you enjoy this article? Read more articles by this expert here. Joshua Waldman is the owner of Career Enlightenment where he helps motivated job seekers get better jobs faster using social media. He received his MBA from Boston University and has 5 years of corporate experience and consulting. You can find him at or follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaWaldman.

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