By the Monster Career Coach
Your resume is like a brochure for a product that someone might be interested in buying. In this case you are the product, and the possible purchasers are employers who are considering hiring you.
Shouldn’t your resume boast about your accomplishments just as a product’s brochure highlights the great things it can do for you?
Think In Terms of Achievements, Not Just Duties and Responsibilities
Employers want to know about what you achieved in your previous work, not merely the things you did. So rather than talk strictly about your previous duties and responsibilities, such as “prepared reports” or “managed the annual budget,” try to state these in ways that demonstrate the value that you added to each and every activity you undertook.
For example, if one of your prior duties included preparing reports or handling the budget, here are some questions you can ask yourself to tease out your accomplishments in these areas:
- Did I speed up the process?
- Did I increase the accuracy of the results?
- Did I reduce costs involved?
- Did I boost revenues or profits somehow?
With these four questions alone you can start turning your responsibilities into powerful Accomplishment Statements.
Quantify Your Accomplishments Whenever Possible
Want to impress potential employers with the results you produced in your previous jobs? Then state your accomplishments crisply and describe outcomes in terms of numbers or percentages when you can.
Let’s take the “preparing reports” duty and evolve it into a statement that plainly shows how you improved the process. Maybe the reports used to take two days to prepare, and you reduced this to a day and a half. Thus you’ve shaved ¼ of the time off. You might start by writing the following:
Reduced time needed to prepare reports by 25%.
It could be that you also improved the accuracy of these reports by reducing the average number of errors the previous employee in your job made in each report from two to zero. Here’s how you might state this:
Improved accuracy of reports by eliminating errors of previous incumbent from two per report to zero.
If you brought down the cost of preparing reports by, say, eliminating paper copies and switching mostly to electronic versions, or by sourcing information from somewhere less expensive, you could say something like:Saved an average of $1,000 per month by eliminating unnecessary paper copies of reports.Bring It All Together In Powerful Statements For Your Resume
Now it’s time to put a few more bullet points on your resume, and you want them to be high impact. Compare how the simple phrase “prepared reports” sounds to your finalized Achievement Statements:
• Prepared a series of reports used in key decision making by senior executives. Reduced time required to prepare these reports by 25%, thereby helping management to make important decisions faster.
• Decreased cost of preparing reports by an average of $1,000 per month by eliminating unnecessary paper copies. This freed up funds that were used to hire a part-time support person
which enabled us to improve accuracy by eliminating errors from the previous incumbent’s two per report to zero.
See how much better your Achievement Statements sound than a bland account of your duties and responsibilities? That’s why you should try to fill your own brochure (that is, resume) with these sorts of potent bullet points when you talk about your work history. Do this and employers will see you as someone who definitely adds value.