As a job seeker, creating a resume that stands out is crucial to getting noticed by potential employers.
A well-crafted resume can be the difference between getting invited for an interview and being overlooked.
One aspect of resume writing that is often overlooked is the tense used in the bullet points.
Using the right tense in your resume can make a big difference in how your accomplishments are perceived by employers.
In this comprehensive guide, I’ll explain what tense to use in a resume and why it matters.
SEE ALSO: WHAT FONT SIZE SHOULD A RESUME BE? (PRO TIPS TO STANDOUT)
Table of Contents
What Tense Should I Use in My Resume?
When it comes to choosing the right tense for your resume, the key is to think about the timeline of your accomplishments.
For ongoing responsibilities, use the present tense. For completed projects, use past tense.
For relevant accomplishments that happened in the past, but are still applicable, use the present perfect tense.
And for accomplishments, you expect to achieve in the future, use the future tense sparingly.
By choosing the appropriate tense, you can create a resume that effectively showcases your achievements and sets you apart from other job applicants.
For a better understanding, see the example below.
Assisted with the implementation of a new customer relationship management system.
Assists with the implementation of a new customer relationship management system.
In the previous version, the past tense was used to describe the responsibility of assisting with the implementation of a new customer relationship management system.
However, since the job responsibilities are still ongoing, it is more appropriate to use the present tense.
By revising the bullet point to “Assists with the implementation of a new customer relationship management system,” it emphasizes that the job duties are still ongoing and relevant, and creates a sense of immediacy.
This revision also makes it easier for potential employers to understand the scope of the job responsibilities.
SEE ALSO: WHAT FONT SHOULD A RESUME BE? (PRO TIPS TO STANDOUT)
When to Use Present Tense on Your Resume
When describing your current job responsibilities or ongoing projects, the present tense is the most appropriate choice.
Using the present tense in your resume emphasizes that you are currently doing these things and that they are ongoing.
It also helps to create a sense of immediacy, making your accomplishments seem more relevant and impressive.
For example, instead of saying “Assisted with marketing campaigns,” say “Assist with marketing campaigns.”
When to Use Past Tense on Your Resume
When describing previous job responsibilities or completed projects, the past tense is the most appropriate choice.
Using the past tense in your resume emphasizes that these accomplishments have been completed and are in the past.
It also helps to create a sense of closure, making it clear that you have moved on to new challenges.
For example, instead of saying “Assist with marketing campaigns,” say “Assisted with marketing campaigns.”
When to Use Present Perfect Tense on Your Resume
The present perfect tense is used to describe accomplishments that have happened in the past but are still relevant to your current job search.
For example, if you won an award for outstanding performance in a previous job, you could say “Have won an award for outstanding performance.”
This tense can also be used to describe accomplishments that happened recently but are not ongoing.
When to Use Future Tense in Your Resume
While it’s not often used in resumes, future tense can be used to describe accomplishments that you expect to achieve in the future.
For example, if you’re applying for a job that requires you to learn a new skill, you could say “Will learn XYZ skill by next month.”
However, it’s important to be cautious when using the future tense in a resume, as it can come across as presumptuous or arrogant.
SEE ALSO: WHAT PERSONAL INFORMATION SHOULD NOT BE INCLUDED ON A RESUME?
Using the right tense in your resume can make a big difference in how your accomplishments are perceived by potential employers.
By using present tense for ongoing responsibilities, past tense for completed projects, present perfect tense for relevant accomplishments, and future tense sparingly, you can create a resume that highlights your achievements in the best possible light.
Now that you know what tense to use in your resume, it’s time to put that knowledge into action and create a resume that will help you stand out from the crowd.
Should resume be in past tense?
Resumes should be in the past tense for completed projects and experiences. However, for current responsibilities, use the present tense, and for accomplishments that happened in the past but are still relevant, use the present perfect tense.
What tense should I use in my resume if I am currently employed?
For current responsibilities and ongoing job duties, use the present tense in your resume. This helps convey that you are still working on these tasks and shows that you are actively engaged in your role.
Should I use past or present tense for previous job experiences on my resume?
When describing completed projects and experiences on your resume, use past tense. This helps communicate that those accomplishments are in the past and no longer ongoing.
Can I use the future tense in my resume?
Using the future tense in your resume is generally not recommended, as it can be difficult to predict future accomplishments. However, if you are certain of future achievement, you can use the future tense sparingly to convey this.
What tense should I use for accomplishments that happened in the past but are still relevant?
For accomplishments that happened in the past but are still relevant to your current job search, use the present perfect tense. This tense indicates that the accomplishment happened at some point in the past but is still applicable to your current situation.
How can I ensure consistency in the tense used throughout my resume?
One way to ensure consistency in your resume is to decide on the appropriate tense for each section before you start writing. Another option is to use a resume template that already includes appropriate tenses for each section. Finally, make sure to review your resume carefully before submitting it to check for any inconsistencies or errors.
Meet Emma Oluwatobi, the career advisor who knows how to level up your job search game without breaking a sweat. With years of experience in the job/career advisory niche, Emma has helped countless job seekers land their dream jobs. While he’s not writing his next helpful piece, he’s sure busy playing video games.