Highlight Your Achievements, Not Your Duties

Suppose a top baseball player like Albert Pujols submitted a resume to join your team. Would it say, "Responsible for getting hits and covering first base on ground balls"? Not likely, since every first baseman does that. Instead, it would stress his benefits to your team: his batting average, slugging percentage, and home run totals.

Your resume should do the same: focus on your successes, not your obligations. To have impact, your resume must vividly state your achievements, not just restate your job description. Sell the scent, not the rose.

Remarkably, executives can be blind to their greatest strengths. The secret? See yourself from the company's perspective. Ask yourself what you'd look for if you were hiring.

Here are a few tips:

  • Stress achievements that increased revenues or saved money or time.
  • Underscore your most vital responsibilities, even if they weren't your main ones.
  • Think cause-and-effect. State a problem, your solution, and the results.
  • If you made improvements in processes or products, show how they improved the company.
  • Quantify. "Supervised 50-person department" is better than "Supervised a large department."
  • Drop phrases like "responsible for."
  • Never state why you left a position.
  • Never, ever provide negative information.
  • Check job performance reviews for comments on your value.
  • Cite meaningful awards.
  • Mention certifications and professional development: such as workshops you've attended, but also note their benefits. Don't let them lie still.
  • List specific skills, such as with computers and foreign languages' and show why they matter.
  • Mention memberships in professional organizations, and describe their value.

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