Describe vs. Demonstrate

Take a look at these two definitions.

We'll start with describe:

Give an account in words of (someone or something), including all the relevant characteristics, qualities, or events.

Mark out or draw (a geometric figure).

And here is demonstrate:

Give a practical exhibition and explanation of (how a machine, skill, or craft works or is performed).

Clearly show the existence or truth of (something) by giving proof or evidence.

The definitions are somewhat similar, but also quite different.

When you speed-read your resume in 8 seconds, which of these two questions does it answer:

  • Here are all the things that I did.
  • Here is the difference I made!

It's much easier to just describe something. But if you're giving a demonstration, you've added one key element to the formula: evidence.

It's the final word in the last definition.

Each bullet point has a chance to demonstrate an impact you had:

  • To your team
  • To the bottom line
  • To your industry

It's helpful to keep these 2 words in mind as you revise. Is each line just a description, or can it become a demonstration of a skill or a personal quality on your outline?

© 2020 Ryan Prinz