When it comes to resumes, people either love them or hate them, depending on where they sit. Hiring teams love to sort them quickly into “yes,” “maybe,” and “no” categories. All too often, job hunters hate having to distill their entire educational background, career history, and accomplishments into just two short pages.
This article will help your developing a great resume easier. It will help you customize your resume to demonstrate the strength of your skills and expertise through powerful, must-read accomplishments.
1. List Your Accomplishments
List all, yes, ALL, of your accomplishments for every position in your career. I can hear you grumbling now (smile), but it is critical for you to inventory all of your accomplishments, big and small.
I’ve seen it happen too often: a job seeker leaves something out of his accomplishments that could compel the hiring executive to say aloud, “Bring this person in for an interview!” Consider this a brainstorming step and write one to three short sentences for each.
2. Qualify and Quantify
Qualify and quantify your accomplishments with statistics. Just as with Step 1, consider this a brainstorming step. Spend only three to five minutes per accomplishment. In step five, you will add more details (see example below).
You may find it helpful to ask yourself a number of questions to capture best the benefits and impact of your accomplishments. The key question is “Why is this important?” Break this question down further and ask, “What were the benefits and results to my organization? What was improved, changed, reduced, streamlined, accelerated, saved, developed…and so forth?”
Before example: Managed rollout of new branding strategy
throughout our company.
Questions to ask yourself: Did you achieve it on time? Within budget? What measured change occurred to customer perceptions, recognition, awareness, media coverage, sales, etc.? What measured change occurred internally in staff productivity, customer service, communications, processes, etc.?
3. Identify the Success Criteria for Your Prospective Job
Extract the success criteria for your prospective position. A two-column table makes this step easier. In column one, row by row, include every sentence hinting at or directly specifying success criteria from the position description or your own knowledge. You will fill out column two in step four.
For example, below is a sentence from a publicly available position description for a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). In reality, it represents numerous success criteria. Separate out each success criterion in each sentence (see table below for a quick example). The more detailed and specific you make the success criteria, the easier it is to match your accomplishments.
Equipped with clear and concrete examples of expanding and improving a brand, product, and/or service within a business, this person will continually analyze and utilize measurable metrics to improve every customer experience across all platforms (web, e-mail, mobile, tablets, etc.).
|Position Description Success Criteria||Accomplishment|
|Equipped with clear and concrete examples of expanding and improving a brand within a business|
|Equipped with clear and concrete examples of expanding and improving a product within a business|
|Equipped with clear and concrete examples of expanding and improving a service within a business|
4. Match Your Accomplishments to Key Success Criteria
Put your relevant accomplishments in column two that are matched to the success criteria in column one. Match as many accomplishments as you can. After you have completed the matching process, prioritize your accomplishments within each success criterion. Prioritize your accomplishments based on the position description and your research on the prospective organization.
5. Write and Rewrite
Develop your accomplishments into powerful and compelling accomplishments. Every accomplishment in your resume must support your career headline and your summary (see earlier article, “How to Write a Resume Summary that Gets Interviews”).
Here’s how the “Before” accomplishment from Step 2 was revised:
Spearheaded rollout of master brand strategy to 11 national and international locations, to more than 3,200 staff. Achieved 94% brand consistency within three years—one year earlier than estimated.
It’s an Evolving Story Element
Because every position, hiring executive, and organization is different, you must customize your accomplishments for each application. Customizing becomes an easier process when you have a master list.
Remember, your resume is just one element of your business story (e.g., elevator speech, LinkedIn profile, blog articles, tweets, referrals, cover letter, resume, interview, accomplishments, success stories, etc.). In your resume, your career theme and summary set the expectations of the hiring executive. Meeting those expectations means you must offer fully developed (qualified and quantified) and customized accomplishments.
Louis Pasteur (1822 – 1895), famous chemist, said “Le hasard ne favorise que les esprits prepares.” Translated, it says, “Chance favors only the prepared mind.”