Past or Present Tenses for Resumes?
Are you using past or present tenses in your resume? Find out what we recommend.
This question comes up a lot, so we thought we would spend some time to discuss our recommendations on tenses and where they fit into the resume. We are going to get right to the point because you have lots of things to do on Wednesday.
Generally, your work experience is broken up into two different parts, your current work, and your past work. In relation to your past work experience, we would recommend using past tenses, and for present work history we recommend using present past tenses as well. Let’s figure out why we think that is the best approach.
The resume is complex document that illustrates your accomplishments and other interesting and noteworthy details.
Let’s use an example of someone who has been working for the same company for five years. During the first year of their employment, they were accountable for creating a new training program, and two months later, it was successfully rolled out to their office. Fast-forward a couple of years, and the same person was involved in developing some SOPs. Now this person is no longer involved in the SOP and training process, but we still want to showcase this experience, as it has a lot of value.
Oh, and btw, the person has also consistently monitored their department budget, conducted regular H&S training sessions and is the lead for performance management initiatives.
So, we have a lot things going on here, some items have been consistent, some have tapered off and are no longer current, and some items are on and off again.
No time to read the whole article? Skip to this paragraph
As you can see, do you switch back and forth to the present and past? Stick with present (which is not really accurate)? Or keep everything past tense like we recommend. We prefer to keep things simple and go with the past tenses on all. We also believe since the resume is a static document, it would be accurate to follow this advice.
Thanks for reading and keep the questions coming through. You can leave a comment below, or send a message through here. Happy job hunting!