Action Verbs

Strong, vivid verbs that demonstrate job capabilities and achievements. Using action verbs in job descriptions (e.g., managed, developed, implemented) helps make a resume more dynamic and impactful.

Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Software that enables the electronic handling of recruitment needs. An ATS can be used to screen candidates, store resumes, and manage hiring processes. It filters resumes based on keywords, skills, former employers, years of experience, schools attended, and more.

Chronological Resume

A resume format that lists work experience in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent position. It emphasizes career progression and a steady work history, making it suitable for those with a solid work background.

Combination Resume

A hybrid of chronological and functional resumes. It highlights relevant skills at the top, followed by a reverse-chronological employment history. This format is beneficial for candidates with a strong set of skills and some work experience.

Cover Letter

A document sent with a resume to provide additional information on an applicant's qualifications and experience. It explains the candidate's interest in the position and company, and highlights how their background makes them a good fit.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

A detailed document used in academic, medical, or scientific fields. It covers education, publications, awards, and other accomplishments in great detail. CVs are typically longer than resumes and are used more commonly outside the United States.

Education Section

A part of the resume that lists educational qualifications, such as degrees, certificates, and relevant coursework. It often includes the name of the institution, degree type, field of study, and graduation date.

Functional Resume

This format focuses on skills and experience, rather than a chronological work history. It's often used by individuals with gaps in their employment, those changing careers, or with a diverse skill set that doesn't align with a traditional career path.

Hard Skills

Teachable and measurable abilities, such as writing, mathematical computation, or proficiency in software programs. These are often listed in a dedicated skills section or described within the work experience.

Keyword Optimization

The strategic placement of relevant words and phrases in a resume to improve its chances of being picked up by an ATS. These include job titles, skills, certifications, software, and educational degrees.


The act of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts. In the context of resume writing, it can also refer to the use of personal connections to find job opportunities.

Personal Branding

The practice of marketing oneself and career as brands. In resume writing, it refers to a consistent message that aligns a candidate's skills and experiences with their professional identity and value to potential employers.


A collection of work samples that demonstrate skills and qualifications. Often used in creative fields, such as writing, graphic design, or photography, a portfolio can be a physical collection or an online website.

Professional Summary

A brief statement at the top of a resume that introduces the job seeker, highlighting their career achievements and key skills. It is tailored to the specific job and showcases the candidate’s value proposition.


Individuals who can attest to a job applicant's qualifications and work ethic. Typically not listed on the resume itself; applicants usually note that references are available upon request.

Soft Skills

Personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively with other people. Examples include communication, problem-solving, and teamwork. These are often interwoven with the professional summary or highlighted in the skills section.

Transferable Skills

Skills that are applicable in multiple job roles across various industries, such as leadership, organizational, and communication skills. They are especially important for career changers or individuals with diverse work experiences.

Work Experience

A section on a resume detailing past employment. It typically includes job titles, company names, locations, dates of employment, and a list of responsibilities and achievements.