All Achievement = All Buzz

Posted May 25, 2012
By Clay Cerny

Clients will often ask me, “What are the latest trends in resume writing?”  One trend I’ve seen over the past few years is the achievement-based resume.  This style focuses on measurable achievements, and it is supposed to make employers think the applicant can deliver results.

I have two problems with this style.

First, a list of achievements quickly loses coherence.  It’s hard for the reader to remember anything specific about the applicant.  Rather than impress an employer, this style leads to confusion.  Achievement follows achievement, and it sounds like buzz, buzz, buzz.

Second, the all achievement style doesn’t address what an employer is looking for.  I’ve never seen a job posting that says, “Send a list of your success stories.”  Instead, they ask for a mix of experience, skills, and education.  If those elements aren’t featured in your resume, it will be difficult for a screener to see how you are qualified for the position.

I’m not saying achievements should not be part of a good resume.  They need to be balanced by information that shows why you are qualified to do the job.  The sample at the end of this post demonstrates what I mean about mixing achievements and qualifications.  Don’t get lost in the buzz.

Sales sample