Join Mariann Siegert for an in-depth discussion in this video Showcasing achievements vs. listing job duties, part of Creating an Effective Resume (2011).
- When developing your Professional Experience section, if you create a long, dull, mind-numbing laundry list of duties and responsibilities, chances are you'll send the reader straight to sleep. Don't start off this section with "Responsibilities included..." or "Duties included..." followed by an inventory of your daily tasks. Employers are looking for someone who will take action, someone who will get something done. Employers are looking for achievers, therefore, highlight your achievements and accomplishments by saying, "This is what I've achieved in the past "for employers and what I can accomplish for you now." Use PAR statements, or problem-action-result statements, as much as possible to tell your success story to potential employers, and just how you can help them and what you can do for them.
There's a whole movie dedicated to creating PAR statements, so check it out if you haven't already. For example, you might want to say, "Designed new Flash web site "based on competitive market evaluations and client needs "resulting in a 70% increase in web site traffic "and 55% profit margin." Or you might want to say, "Created a contact management system using Access "to store data from outdated Rolodex system "increasing efficiency of mass mailings "to our clients by 90%." By listing your experience in terms of accomplishments and achievements, rather than duties and responsibilities, you can make yourself shine by showing the employer what you bring to the table, rather than simply what you did daily.
These results can be measured in just about any occupation, not just sales. This particular PAR statement was designed for a web designer. While this example of a PAR statement was designed for a secretary. Add quantifiable results as much as possible throughout your resume. Take a look at this resume. They've included quantifiable results and amounts throughout. Take a look at the information that's highlighted in blue. For example, this first paragraph here that says: "Delivering and designing comprehensive, "certificate based training program "throughout this international law firm with 12 offices "and 1400 employees." Or this second paragraph here: "Managing, desinging "and delivering classes for in-house "Continuing Technical Education program "offering over 65 courses in multiple subject matters." Down a little bit further here, look at this paragraph.
"Providing application support and training "for 800 secretaries, paralegal staff and attorneys "across five offices." And last but not least, take a look at this one: "Writing curriculum for more than 50 courses "and conducting instructor-led and blended training "across five offices." Also, don't forget to start each of your sentences with bullet points and action verbs, instead of "Responsibilities included...". Take a look at this resume and just how Mary Ellen has accomplished this. She started off each of her sentences with action verbs.
She says "delivering", "managing", "delivering" again here, "designing", "traveling", "providing", "writing", "evaluating", "testing and analyzing", "managing and developing", "creating", "deploying", "trouble-shooting" and "authoring". For more information, there's a whole movie dedicated to action verbs called Incorporating Action Verbs. Focus on the benefits of your actions instead of the actions themselves. So, what is an accomplishment? An accomplishment can be anything you've done that benefited a previous employer.
If you're thinking you have no accomplishments think again. Each of us has done something in our careers that can benefit our employer. It's just a matter of remembering back and figuring out just what those things are. Ask yourself questions such as these. What have you done that you're really proud of? What have past evaluations said about you? What do co-workers say about you? Have you won any awards or honors? Have you created or designed something? Have you implemented any new ideas? Have you increased profits or reduced costs? Have you managed a budget successfully? Or maybe increased quality control? Did you resolve a problem or come up with a solution? Did you increase efficiency? One of the best ways of showing off and highlighting the Professional Experience section is by creating an attention-grabbing sentence or a short paragraph followed by a bulleted list of about three to five accomplishments and achievements.
Now, see if you can come up with three to five things that you're really proud of in each position you've held. And, by the way, there's a place to include them in your Career Management Worksheet that comes with this course. By showcasing your achievements and your accomplishments and avoiding a list of dry and dull job duties and responsibilities, you will outshine the competition. Use an achievements-oriented resume format to prove to the employer that you can do an outstanding job by demonstrating results and proving positive end results.
Potential employers will see your past achievements as an indicator and gauge for future performance. Your resume will stand out from the crowd and be much more effective by highlighting and showcasing your key accomplishments.
- Determining the appropriate resume length
- Choosing the best layout
- Identifying and incorporating essential keywords
- Tips from recruiters
- Showcasing achievements and job duties using P.A.R. statements
- Evaluating resume banks
- Saving to different file formats
- Compiling references, cover letters, and thank-you notes