When competing with candidates who have similar skills to your own, it is absolutely critical to highlight your achievements in a compelling way; you want to stand out from the crowd. A resume without achievements may provide information surrounding your previous duties, but it will not effectively illustrate the value you are capable of bringing to a role. Why are you better than the next guy (or gal)? To enhance your resume and give it a one-two punch that will generate the impact you seek, you should adhere to a few proven, winning strategies to get results. I can tell you firsthand that creating a resume with powerful, carefully positioned achievements will yield more interviews, more quickly.
- Define and Quantify Your Accomplishments: When drafting your resume achievements, it is important to provide specific examples. Using percentages and numbers add substance. While you may not have precise information all of the time, you can roughly estimate the impact of your actions as long as you choose your wording carefully. For example, ";Developed a new system for managing customer complaints that resulted in nearly a 4-fold improvement in quality control and enhanced client retention by up to 75%.";
- In the case where you do not have detailed information, artful use of adjectives and adverbs can be helpful. For example, ";Developed a new system for managing customer complaints that resulted in significant improvements in quality control and substantially enhanced client retention."; Solid numbers are best, when you have them. You do not want to misrepresent the truth. Be sure to think SAR (Situation-Action-Results). What was the situation? What action did you take? What were the results that positively impacted the company?
- Consider a Career Highlights Section: Depending upon your situation, using a Career Highlights section that contains specific select accomplishments will make a meaningful and lasting impact. The top portion of a resume is prime real estate. Leverage its power. Highlighting achievements at the top will serve to quickly engage the reader. This technique is particularly useful if your relevant accomplishments are falling on the second page.
- If you seek a role that is similar to a position you held earlier in your career, this is a way to bring that information front and center. Another nice thing about the Career Highlights section is that your achievements do not necessarily need to appear in chronological order. Also, if you have gaps in your job history, the Career Highlights section can take some of the attention away from this.
Use Bullets Strategically: I find that the best way to present achievements is in bulleted format. I generally put information surrounding duties and responsibilities in paragraph format when creating a resume while I save bullets for important accomplishments, and use them judiciously. Over-bulleted resumes lose their impact. When using bullets in the Professional Experience section of a resume, I generally recommend no more than six or seven consecutive bullets at a time to highlight key achievements for each role.
It is also a wise to put the most relevant and most significant accomplishment bullets towards the top of the list. Assuming the average resume reader only has a brief moment or two to review your information, it is likely they will read the top few bullet points. You may want to switch the order of your bullets depending upon the role for which you are applying. This will allow you to draw attention to the most relevant achievements for the given opportunity.
Make sure your resume has powerful and well -positioned achievements to increase your impact; let hiring managers and recruiters know that you mean business! You must flaunt your stuff. I know this is hard for some. Your resume is a strategic marketing tool. You must effectively toot-your-horn to get your phone a-ringing!