Ask Vicki: Is it appropriate to use boastful language on a resume?

In this answer on Quora, Monster career expert Vicki Salemi explains how your resume can strut your stuff without seeming arrogant.

Ask Vicki: Is it appropriate to use boastful language on a resume?

Vicki Salemi

Each week, Monster’s career expert Vicki Salemi—a former recruiter who utilizes 15-plus years of experience in recruiting and human resources to empower job seekers—answers user questions on Quora. We’ll be republishing the answers here. If you have a question for Vicki, send it to socialmedia@monster.com.

Vicki Salemi

Q. Is it appropriate to use boastful language on a resume?

A. Your resume and cover letter are essentially your portfolio, your opportunity to not-so-humbly brag your way to an interview and ultimately a job.

However, there are ways to be boastful without being so in-your-face about it.

While you can include positive attributes in your career summary—“seasoned marketing leader with proven track record”—the best way to boast your way into a job interview involves including numbers on your resume.

In writing, there’s a saying: “Show, don’t tell.” You can say you’re an awesome employee, but what employers really want to see is proof. Instead of saying you’re awesome, note that you saved the company $100,000 last year because you researched new vendors and negotiated a contract. That’s the proof needed to back up your I’m-awesome claim.

When I worked in recruiting and reviewed resumes (on average, scanning each one for a total of three seconds), questions would emerge: Ok, this person manages a team—how many people are in the team? This person manages a budget—what’s the amount? Make it easy for those busy recruiters; include numbers that speak for themselves.

Your resume should totally include your accomplishments and demonstrate you’ve got the goods for the job, and proof helps prevent you from coming across as too self-aggrandizing. Yes, this is your time to shine, but there’s a fine line between being confident and arrogant. 

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Read Vicki Salemi's answer to "Is it appropriate to use boastful language on a resume?" on Quora.