30 Terms You Must Know to Create a Great Resume

Resume Terms You Must Know“I know nothing in the world that has a much power as a word.”

Emily Dickinson’s simple words were not likely written in reference to career development, but it still serve as a good lesson when going through the process of creating a resume.

Words and phrases equally worth consideration: those that describe the 30 terms you need to know when creating a great resume:

6 Seconds

The average amount of time a recruiter takes to review your resume, as you may already know, is just six seconds. And in that six seconds, a recruiter must be able to scan your resume well enough to see you can do the job.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

ATS is Automated software used by more than 90 percent of large and medium-sized companies  to streamline the hiring process. In order to get the interview, your resume must contain the keywords the ATS has been programmed to find.


Keywords are the most important element in today’s job search, because an ATS searches for keyword matches between your resume and a job description. Of course, once that resume passes the software platform test, it will be seen by a human recruiter. So don’t try keyword stuffing. Your resume will need to appeal to a human reader, too.

Active Voice

To sound more confident and aware, always use action words when creating a resume. After all, “Led a dynamic team” sounds way better than “Was a team leader.”

Objective Statement

Objectives on a resume are so… 1999. Your next boss knows that your objective is to “find a job where you can use your skills, blah, blah, blah.” So instead, use that valuable space, through a career summary, to show how you will add value and help achieve company goals.

Career Summary

A career summary is a short yet informative set of bullets at the top of your resume that describe your career arc, show your impact and achievement in past roles, and is also a great place to include keywords.

Contact Information

Employers can’t offer you a dream job if they can’t contact you! At a minimum, your resume should include a professional email address, phone number, and your current city and state. For more contemporary companies, consider including links to your LinkedIn and social media accounts.

CV (Curriculum Vitae)

While a resume is a concise overview of career experiences, a curriculum vitae goes into great detail about your educational and professional history, awards, and accomplishments. CVs are more commonly used than resumes in certain industries (education, for example) and companies in certain countries (United Kingdom).

Dates of Employment

With background checks becoming more and more precise, the dates specified on your resume must be accurate down to the month and year of employment. Say you worked at a company from September of 2013 to March of 2014… don’t put “2013-14” on your resume, which can be perceived not just as inaccurate, but lazy.


If you’re seeking jobs in a field that places special emphasis on education (such as medicine), schooling information should go near the top of your resume. So should honors, achievements and GPA. In industries or jobs, where education is not emphasized, place your education near the bottom of your resume to satisfy minimum requirements and for the ATS.

File Name

Recruiters can receive hundreds of resumes each day, far too many of which are named “Resume” or “2015 Resume.” To stand out as more professional, incorporate your full name and at least part of the job title into your resume file name. “Resume of Jane Smith Marketing Director,” for example.

Font Choice

Unless you are in the a design field that would appreciate creative fonts, stick to standard, conservative typefaces in your resume: Helvetica, Times New Roman, Verdana, Arial, or Tahoma are safe choices. Remember: legibility is the priority for resumes, especially ATS.


In today’s job market, many highly employable professionals have work history gaps. Instead of trying to get tricky and cover up those gaps, address them either directly on your resume or in a cover letter.


The phrase “References available upon request” needs to be deleted from your resume, pronto. It’s implied that if an employer needs your references, they’ll ask. Even if they ask for them in the job posting, provide a separate references sheet.

Job Description

A job description is your best friend when it comes to identifying keywords for each position. This is also an excellent tool for understanding a company’s values and determining the hard and soft skills required to compete well for that position at that company.

Hard Skills

The term “hard skill” refers to a specific program, process, or procedure that you have experience using—such as SEO marketing or the Adobe Creative Suite. These hard skills are often stated as minimum requirements in job descriptions, and must be addressed in your resume or cover letter.

Soft Skills

Soft skills—leadership, communication, problem solving, for example—are subjective traits that describe your work style and professional attitude. They also demonstrate your ability to fit into the company cultures and work teams.


According to recruiters, one of the biggest mistakes candidates make is not following application instructions. And with about 150 applications received for every job opening, you must heed all special resume requirements in job postings

LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn profiles have become the standard for modern job searching, and are used by 97% of employers for recruiting purposes. However, LinkedIn is not a resume substitute… but an extension of your personal and professional branding.

Quantified Accomplishments

Today, employers are looking for more than a series of past job descriptions. They are looking for indicators of performance and impact. The best way to provide that information: quantified accomplishments like “Achieved 132% of quota over three years.” Check out some examples here.

Non-Traditional Resume

In the right industry, or for the right company or hiring manager, infographic and other creative resumes can really help you stand out. Highly creative resumes such as t-shirts or cakes can be cool—but can also backfire. Before deciding to present a non-traditional resumes, determine how appropriate they are for your target company or role.


In resume terms, an oprhan refers to a line of your resume that contains only one word. Since your  resume should have both great content and visual appeal, work hard to rephrase so orphans do not occur in your resume.

White Space

Speaking of visual appeal… make sure your resume has lots of white space, which makes it much easier to read than .35″ margins and crammed 9-point copy where all the paragraphs run together. If a recruiter can’t scan your resume in those six seconds, you won’t make the first cut.

Page Limit

If important details from job or internship history don’t fit on one page, don’t sweat it. Resume length isn’t a factor for an ATS, and recruiters prefer that white space. Bottom line: A well-planned two-page resume is better than a crammed one-page resume.

Resume Format

When you’re creating a resume, there are 3 main formats to choose from. Choose the right type of resume for you:

  • Chronological, which begins with your most recent experience and works backwards;
  • Functional, where you present work experience as a collection of different skills; and,
  • a Hybrid resume, which combines elements of the first two options.


Submitting a generic resume is death to your application. In fact, the first thing 73% of employers look for is your ability to tailor your resume to their specific work opportunity. Plus, that pesky ATS is going to look for the exact keywords from the job description. Take your time. Do this right.


How to create a resume when you just don’t have much time? Try a resume template so you don’t spend unnecessary time reinventing the wheel. For some great examples, we’ve compiled 20 ATS-friendly resume templates you can use for free.


Nothing kills your chances of being selected as a top candidate faster than a typo. And spellcheck isn’t sufficient enough in the great fight against those typos. Enlist the help of a friend, mentor, or other professional to ensure that your resume is error-free… and makes a great first impression.

Volunteer Work

Not all work experience is paid! If a job requires leadership skills, and you’ve honed yours outside the office, spotlight those volunteer achievements. Volunteering also shows a commitment to helping others, a trait highly valued by many employers.


Jobscan’s analysis tool instantly measures how well your resume aligns with a specific job description—and then makes suggestions for improvement, such as increasing the frequency of certain keywords or adding measurable accomplishments. Try Jobscan for free and see how it can increase your interview chances!

Creating a resume is hard work, but there are many resources to help you along the way. Use these terms as a checklist to get started!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Jobscan Blog!





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