Your resume is more than a list of your job titles and responsibilities. It’s a sales pitch for your skills and experience, and an opportunity to highlight your strengths. To make the most of this opportunity, consider employing a suitable verb tense when writing about your present job. While past events are usually presented in the past tense, a resume is an opportunity to promote your skills and achievements in the present tense.
If you’re applying for a job in a field that requires knowledge of the chemical or physical properties of materials, past tense is appropriate. For example, if you’re applying for a marketing job and the required skills include knowing about the packaging of products or the production of materials, you’d better use the past tense in your resume. You can’t expect the recruiter to know exactly what you know today, after all, you worked in a different field before.
On the other hand, if you’re applying for a job in a field that doesn’t have any knowledge required, like programming or finance, you can use the present tense.
Conversely, if you’re applying for a job in a field that is relevant to your experience and the skills you’ve gained, you can use the present tense. For example, if you’re applying for a software engineering job and have several years of experience as a developer, you don’t need to explain what a developer does in the next part of your resume. Instead, you can start with something like, “As a developer, I’ve worked on several products including …”
When using the present tense, choose words that reflect the moment of writing. For instance, if you’re applying for a marketing job and the required skills include taking photos, you can say something like, “I’ve been taking photos for my own enjoyment since I was 15 years old and have used various lenses and lighting to create my own images.” Instead of saying you’ve “worked in marketing” or “marketing job titles,” say what you’re doing now to grab the attention of the reader.
Finally, if you’re applying for a job in a field that you’re not yet qualified for, you can use the future tense. For example, if you’re applying for a data analyst job and don’t have a background in economics or business, you can say something like, “I expect to have the skills necessary to perform this job by the end of the month.”
This is also one part of your resume that you need to keep concise. The recruiter isn’t going to read through a whole tome describing your skills and experience in the future tense. The writer’s advice for the future perfect tense is also applicable here: keep it short and sweet.
One last thing about the tense you use for this section: since you’ll be using the future tense to describe your expected skills and qualifications, make sure you’re consistent with the details. If you say you’re a Junior Data Analyst and then later on say that you’ve taken Advanced Data Analysis classes, the reader is likely to lose track of what they’re reading. Keep your resume concise and to the point.
Short & Sweet
Remember, your resume is a sales pitch. You’re trying to convince the reader that you’re the best candidate for the job. Keep your resume short and sweet. Employing the above guidelines can help ensure that your resume is as effective as possible.