This question frequently comes across our way. Therefore, our experts decided to acknowledge it so all confusion can be cleared. Should a CV be written in the third person or not? Let’s find out.
So, here is the secret recipe to a CV with perfect grammatical structure. You can use both first and third-person and it will be entirely acceptable.
But before you head on to the task of CV writing, a few technicalities must be considered. In a formal document like this, the use of pronouns is uncalled for. In fact, they should best not be used at all.
If you observe them in this particular context, pronouns are fairly redundant. A simple experiment can be done to prove it. Remove all “I”, “she”, and “he” from your CV and then read through it. It will not change a single thing. They have an implied usage as the reader can already figure out who the information is about.
Pronouns also tend to occupy a lot of unnecessary space. It can rather be filled with adjectives and verbs which if used strategically can transform your CV. The important components get more space for details and shine through without the overcrowding of pronouns.
We are going to demonstrate the point here with an easy example.
A statement in the first person: I used to manage a stock room with twenty thousand and above items.
A statement in the third person: He used to manage a stock room with twenty thousand and above items.
Now, neither of these statements contain any errors. But are they well suited for the structure of a modern resume? The answer to that would be negative. The very obvious reason for the dismissal of the third person is the awkwardness it entails. A resume is supposed to be about yourself. Hence, it is rather unsettling and odd if you used “he”, “she”, or your name to address yourself.
On the other hand, using the first person quickly becomes stale. If you keep sprinkling a dozen I’s across the page it does not make for a very appealing read. How about we entirely get rid of both third and first-person and check the results?
Statement without pronouns: Managed a stock room with twenty thousand and above items.
Do you perceive the difference now? Phrasing it this way makes it much more concise and impactful! It is easy to avoid the awful repetitiveness of pronouns by using this tactic. In turn, you will be able to craft an outstanding resume that has a smooth and natural flow. The approach is ideal for writing brief bullet points which showcase your achievements brilliantly.
In case you still want to use pronouns in your resume then we also have a solution for that. As long as you keep careful track of how they are functioning within the context it can work well.
It is also not a hard and fast rule that you cannot use first and third person while CV writing. As mentioned above they are very much acceptable. However, they are difficult to work with and you must pay extra attention to keep the format reader-friendly.
So, the first point to keep in mind when using pronouns is to use the same one throughout the CV. If choosing to do this, you must remain consistent and not switch between one form to the other. In fact, not sticking to the same pattern can even risk you losing interview opportunities. An unprofessional CV is not appreciated by hiring managers.
If you pick the first person, it is an absolutely logical approach. It sounds personal, engaging, and direct. But once you have put the “I” to use there the situation starts to get tricky. How can you stay consistent when the CV’s readability is in the danger of becoming hugely monotonous? Repeating “I” over and over again is detrimental for the quality of your document.
A way to get out of this corner is by using innovative sentence structures to avoid repetition. However, that will turn your CV into a highly informal and non-professional description of yourself. So, unless you are required to freely express yourself for the applied position it is not recommended.
And lastly, we will shed some more light on the third-person approach. It is often found suitable for resumes because of the formal tone it can create. The resume will seem impersonal and will not show any signs of egocentricity.
It also provides a necessary distance that enables a hiring manager to view your attributes and skills. But make sure that you do not use your name when relating your assets. It will sound extremely peculiar and will affect the overall body of the resume.
Once your resume is completed, carefully read it aloud. It is very important that you evaluate the tone and determine how it will sound to the reader. The best quality of a resume that is valued by recruiters is simplicity and honesty. A hiring manager tends to pick up those CVs first which are easier to comprehend and read fluently.
The reason we suggest the style without pronouns, is that it focuses on the content which really matters. Well-chosen adjectives, verbs, and nouns turn a resume from good to great. Pronouns only serve as obstacles that distract the reader from getting to your true professional assets.
And finally, we have some basic yet key rules for an impressive resume. It is best to use past tense in your CV. Your accomplishments and commendable experiences need exclusive focus, so they are immediately noticeable to the recruiter. You are free to use the third person, but avoid pronouns as shown in the example. By placing information in the form of bullet points you automatically do not need superfluous fillers.
Following these tips will help you write the perfect CV that is bound to stand out. They are easy to implement and will uplift the most important tool which sets you on the path to success.