What in the world does the word “parallel” have to do with resumes?
Parallelism in resume writing – or any writing – refers to consistency in grammatical parts of speech. Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab defines parallelism this way: “Parallel structure means using the same pattern of words to show that two or more ideas have the same level of importance.”
In resume writing, parallelism is important in at least two areas:
- The bullet points in your Profile or Qualifications Summary section.
- The bullet points describing what you’ve done in your jobs.
Chapter 3 explained parallelism in Profile or Qualifications Summary sections. The idea is to make the parallel, as though each bullet point is completing the same sentence, thus boosting readability. Imagine that each Summary/Profile bullet point I write finishes an unstated but understood sentence that begins: “I am a(n)…” as in:
- [I am a] Seasoned systems analyst with strong commitment to time and resource budgets, new-business development, strategic planning, innovation, technology trends, customer-service needs, and close collaboration with sales and marketing during development.
- [I am a] Competent problem-solver who resolved sales and shipping issues by creating internal customer-care system and saved 20 percent shipping; researched and delivered Web conferencing service for sales that saved 30 percent of travel budgets.
- [I am a] Visionary innovator who partnered with another programmer to create pioneering language-learning software that earned national attention; served as lead analyst for revolutionary legal document generating and tracking product.
… and so on
In the bullet points describing your job functions and accomplishments don’t mix noun and verb phrases. Let’s look at this example:
- Managed and controlled all aspects of company’s West Coast presence. [verb]
- Complete ownership of inventory and financial standards. [noun]
- Full P&L responsibilities. [noun]
- Analyzed market and forecast sales, prepared corporate budgets and monitored results to achieve ROI objectives. [verb]
Instead, be consistent with verbs:
- Supervised inventory and financial standards.
- Completely oversaw profit and loss aspects of operation.