In writing a resume, it is important to show how you are qualified. In recent posts, I’ve talked about reviewing job postings and speaking to the employers’ needs. At the same time, a good resume will show what makes you better than other qualified candidates. To do that, you need to include relevant achievements and success stories. How do you define these elements? My simple method is to think about what you’ve done that goes beyond the normal job duties and has a positive impact on the company.
Here are some verbs that might help you identify achievements and tell your success stories:
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.
A good resume will blend your experience and skills with a relevant list of achievements. Use achievements to show your next employer how you can do more than just “do the job.”
Here are some questions that can guide you in identifying achievements. Do they have to be quantifiable? No. If you have numbers, great. If not, tell your success story in the best way that shows your value to you next employer.
What have I done to help my employer make money?
What have I done to help my employer save money?
What have I done to make the company more efficient?
How have I exceeded performance goals?
What has happened because I took the initiative to do something?
Has an employer said something about me in a review that speaks to my character?
Have I trained or mentored an employee who took on a position of greater responsibility?
Have I been selected for special projects or assignments?
ave I won any awards?