Highlight Your Achievements NOT Just Responsibilities

By Daniel C. Simmons, CPC

Resume TipI see hundreds of resumes each and every year and have concluded that a lot of candidates do not see the importance of this document to a recruiter and more importantly to an employer. You only have one chance to make a great first impression, and this is that chance! Make it count!

When I see a resume that lays out a history of job responsibilities I yawn. It’s just boring. We can all list a bunch of tasks associated with a particular job description. The truth is that no one cares what you were tasked with doing. What they care about is what you accomplished for the organizaton you worked for. What results were attributable to your efforts?

An impressive looking resume will highlight your accomplishments within your scope of responsibilities. If you can quantify them in terms of number of sales and what that represented dollar-wise and/or production levels and the increase that happened under your direction this creates a vivid picture of your contributions. If you worked as the as lead researcher in the product development department, here are some examples of how you could describe that position in terms of good, better and best:

Job Title: Lead researcher for product development department

Good – Team Leader for the product development department.

Better – Led a team of 8 researchers who were charged with developing innovative products for a well-known manufacturing company.

Best – Led an 8-person team of product development specialists for a topnotch manufacturer resulting in 4 innovative new products and 2 patents in the last 30 months. This resulted in sales of more than $6 million dollars.

Key Tip: When creating your resume, write about what you accomplished, quantifying how well you did this, and why this was important for the company you worked for.

A trainer conducting a class for a roomful of professional recruiters once gave this advice, “When you set out to describe something, make sure you ask yourself these questions:”

  1. So what?
  2. Who cares?
  3. What does this mean to me?

Put yourself in the position of the person reading your resume. What you write must be relevant to them. It all boils down to one question, “What can you do for them?” They are going to look at what you have accomplished for past employers to get an idea of what you can do for them.

When creating your resume you must lay out in a clear way what you’ve accomplished, not just what your responsibilities were in a particular job. Make sure you clearly show how your efforts directly benefited your employer. Potential employers will take from this and seriously consider how you could be an asset to their company.