Kelly Donovan
Principal, Kelly Donovan & Associates
  • LinkedIn strategist & profile writer
  • Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)
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Introduction to “Resume Speak”

What is “Resume Speak?”

“Resume speak” is a term that refers to the unique style that has become the standard for resume writing. HR managers, recruiters, and hiring managers usually expect and appreciate resumes written in this style.

With that being said, there is really no right or wrong in resume writing, and 10 different “experts” will give you 10 different opinions about a resume.

How is resume speak different from normal writing?

Two main ways:

1. Writing in “first person implied,” omitting personal pronouns.

Resumes should be written in first person, meaning it’s written as though you’re writing about yourself. However, the standard, accepted practice is to leave out personal pronouns like “I,” “my,” and “me.” This style is referred to as “first person implied.”

Examples for present tense (for current job):
– First person: I develop marketing campaigns…
– First person implied: Develop marketing campaigns…

Examples for past tense (for previous jobs):
– First person: I launched a marketing campaign…
– First person implied: Launched a marketing campaign…

The occasional, thoughtful use of a personal pronoun or two on a resume can be perfectly fine–innovative, even–but as a general rule of thumb, it’s best to stick with the standard protocol and omit them whenever possible.

2. Omitting articles.

In resume speak, we don’t include many articles. Articles are “the,” “a,” and “an.” It doesn’t hurt to include them, but resume statements can be much more powerful when we limit unnecessary use of articles.

Sometimes articles are necessary to ensure that the meaning of something is understandable, so I do include some articles–just not all the articles that I would include if I were writing a different type of document, like an essay for an English class.


– Normal writing: Launched a marketing campaign that resulted in a 30% increase in sales over a 12-month period, enabling the firm to hire an additional marketing associate.

– Resume speak with limited articles:
Launched marketing campaign that resulted in 30% increase in sales over 12-month period, enabling firm to hire an additional marketing associate.


Additonal resources on resume speak:


Other Style Considerations: One Space or Two After a Period?

I always put only one space after a period, which has become the preferred practice in modern times — even though you probably learned to use two spaces back when you were in school.

Read more here:

Slate — Space Invaders: Why You Should Never Use Two Spaces After a Period


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