You’re reading #5 of my Top Ten Tips for writing your resume. Read all the other tips by clicking on each link:
1. Be focused.—2. Be strategic and selective.— 3. Be succinct.— 4. Stand out from the crowd.— 5. Show results. — 6. Write it right.— 7. Make a great first impression.— 8. Be interesting. — 9. Be specific.— 10. Tell your story.
#5 SHOW RESULTS
Giving advice is easy: “Include your accomplishments,” you’ll hear from every resume expert (including me). But following that advice can be a bit more challenging.
In my many years of reviewing resumes, I’ve seen a lot of what I call “accomplishment-like” statements. They are presented in bullet form and read like achievements, but they are lacking the ultimate proof: the outcomes and results.
As you write your achievement bullets, follow the thread all the way to the end to discover what actually happened as a result of your actions. If you keep going down the rabbit hole, you can usually uncover the reason behind the action, the problem you were supposed to solve, and then can often identify the result.
Not every profession lends itself to quantified results, and not every bullet point has to be quantified. But without specifics and results, your resume content becomes “fuzzy.” Nothing sticks in the minds of your readers.
Here’s a strategy that might help you in writing bullet points that have as much meaning and impact as possible: the “good-better-best” method.
- GOOD: State a benefit (to business, customers, colleagues, etc.) even if it is not quantified.
- Planned and executed publicity campaigns that built visibility for the company’s new product introductions.
- BETTER: Add numbers that cement the details, even if they are not results.
- Orchestrated 5 publicity events in 6 months, reaching more than 3,000 potential customers and building visibility for the company’s new product introductions.
- BEST: Dig deep to get results!
- Achieved the most successful product launch in company history, generating new-product sales 73% above prior average, by orchestrating a series of 5 PR events that reached 3,000 potential customers in 6 months.
As mentioned in Tip #4, job descriptions are not exciting nor particularly valuable. To avoid over-emphasizing standard duties and responsibilities, think about how you can incorporate those details into your achievements.
In the “good-better-best” example above, you learn that this job seeker is “responsible for” designing and managing publicity campaigns for new products. It’s obvious from the achievement statement, so there’s no need to repeat those responsibilities as part of a job description.
SUMMING IT UP
- When writing achievements, keep digging to uncover quantifiable results and include those in your resume.
- If results are unavailable, try the good-better-best strategy to make your achievements as concrete and memorable as possible.
- By incorporating job details into your achievement statements, you avoid the need to write detailed job descriptions that can be dry and generic.
BONUS TIP #11: GET HELP IF YOU NEED IT. Professional resume/profile writers are widely available for all professions, all levels, and in all fee ranges. Not only will we take an objective, employer-centric view of your career, we’re experts at uncovering the themes, threads, and success stories of your career that will sell your value.
Please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d like a complimentary review of your resume, a few specific suggestions, and a proposal for a rewrite.
NEXT: #6 Write It Right