Ask a Recruiter: Should Your Resume Be Written in 1st or 3rd Person?

Ask a Recruiter


Every third Thursday of the month, we answer questions submitted to us from Kansas City area job seekers and employers. This week, we answer a question from job seeker James Cross.


Should your resume be written in 1st or 3rd person?


Great question, James. You’re certainly not the first person to ask this.

Your resume should never be written in third person. Use first person, but leave out the pronoun “I.” For example, if you’re an administrative assistant, instead of saying “I coordinated travel for senior leadership,” simply say “Coordinated travel for senior leadership.”

Organize your responsibilities in a bulleted list, using an action verb at the beginning of each bullet point. For example, rather than saying “I ran reports,” say “Generated reports.”

Below is an example of how to take a basic, generic bullet point and make it valuable by adding an action verb and number to quantify your responsibilities.


Generic Responsibility: Processed monthly payroll.

Next, take it a step further by quantifying your past responsibility. (Always use the number on your resume rather than writing the number out. Numbers will stand out more prominently on your resume.)


Generic Responsibility: Processed monthly payroll.

Quantified Responsibility: Processed monthly payroll for 100 employees.

Then, add the system you used. A good formula to follow is: say what you did, the quantity by which you did it, and the system you used to do it.


Processed monthly payroll for 100 employees using QuickBooks. 

Processed is the action verb, monthly payroll is what you did, 100 employees quantifies your accomplishment, and QuickBooks is the system you used.


When writing your resume, be cognizant of your use of past or present tense. Use present tense to describe your current position and past tense for your previous positions.

To better organize your resume, utilize bolded and italicized words. Be consistent: if you bold a company name under your experience section, bold all the company names in that section. If you italicize dates for one position, do the same for all your other positions.

Finally, make sure to write your resume yourself. Don’t use a resume writing service or have a friend write it for you. Recruiters see hundreds of resumes a week. We can tell when someone wrote their resume themselves and when they didn’t. No one knows you better than yourself. Your resume will always be more successful if you write it.


Could you use more resume writing tips?

Contact a recruiter at Morgan Hunter. While we don’t write resumes for you, we will be a source of invaluable resume advice. In our 35-year history, we’ve helped thousands of job seekers improve their resume and land jobs at some of Kansas City’s premier organizations. Check out our available jobs or contact us today!