Spinning, of course, is not the same as lying. You do not want to fabricate information or exaggerate. But you can choose certain words and phrases that reinforce your best selling points. Here’s how:
Address perceived negatives head-on. Don’t ignore obvious problems with your work history in the hope that others will ignore them too. Instead, place events in the proper context. Examples: If you’ve hopped from job to job, insert a sentence in your cover letter that says, “As a result of my experience with a wide range of jobs, I’ve concluded that I’m ideally suited to. . . .” If there’s a gap between two jobs, explain what you did during that time: “From March 1994 to September 1994, I enjoyed the first break in my employment after 12 years of continuous service. During this time, I enrolled in training courses to expand my technical skills and volunteered for a local nonprofit group.”
List quantifiable achievements as bullet points. Rather than composing a paragraph that describes all your accomplishments, list each specific feature as a separate bullet. Choose your verbs with care to emphasize the action you undertook. Words such as orchestrated, launched and invented sound better than ran, began and devised.
Add a “highlight” line to each job. Many candidates are so proud of their past accomplishments that they insist on inserting every single thing they did in their former position. A better way: Call attention to an overriding triumph by providing a one-sentence highlight for each job. Ideally, each highlight should relate in some way to the position that you currently seek.