If you have noticed it, a majority of resumes and LinkedIn profiles do look like job descriptions. Not that there’s anything wrong with profiles and resumes which look like job descriptions, but if one wants to stand out, one has to do a better job than sticking with a resume that looks like a job description.
Why do you have to be fussy about how your resume looks like? The answer is a no-brainer – as a candidate, you need to stand out.
How do you stand out? For starters, you will stand out if you clearly communicate how valuable you are. And your accomplishments will do most of the job.
If you have a resume in hand, bring it out and let’s do some modification. Let’s turn those lists of duties into a list of accomplishments.
Read on as we walk you through the process of turning your duties into bullet points that will sing your praises.
1. First, know the difference between a duty and an accomplishment.
“I’ve listed everything I did in my previous jobs and everything I do at my current one. Aren’t these achievements?”
Well, not really. Those are duties.
But the difference between a duty and an accomplishment is simple.
A resume entry under “Professional Experience” is a duty if it answers the question “What did you do?.
An accomplishment, on the other hand, answers the question, “How well did you do it?”
Just to recap.
Duty: What did you do?
Accomplishment: How well did you do it?
Remember, too that hiring managers understand what duties are associated with certain job titles. Re-enumerating those duties is useless. Remember that recruiters and hiring managers scrutinize a resume for an average time of just 6 seconds.
It makes perfect sense, therefore, to veer away from the what-I-did narrative and start telling how well you did your job – creating a picture of your abilities; one that will sell yourself.
2. Know what set you apart from your competition.
A single job post gets around 250 resumes or applications. So, your resume better stand out.
Before you start writing your resume, make a list of the things that clearly communicate your value.
As a guide, ask yourself the following questions as you go through each and every position on your resume.
- What did I do that was above and beyond my normal job duties?
- How did I stand out among other employees?
- Was I ever recognized by a supervisor for a job well done? When and why?
- Did I win any awards or accolades?
- What new processes did I implement to improve things?
- What problems did I solve?
- Did I ever consistently meet or exceed goals or quotas?
- Did I save the company money?
- What made me really great at my job?
3. Quantify your achievements.
Logos, or the appeal to logic, is one of the three pillars of persuasion (ethos and pathos are the other two). And an appeal to logic is always persuasive. Aside from logical correctness, quantitative evidence is also a cornerstone of logos.
It makes a lot of sense to show your accomplishments in numbers, not just words. In other words, quantity how well you did your job.
But how do you quantify each and every duty you’ve performed? Start by answering the question “how much” whenever appropriate.
Remember, by quantifying your impact, you’re doing exactly that. You’re providing evidence to underscore the significance of your accomplishments.
We’ll give you examples. Instead of saying: “As a project coordinator, I managed a budget to plan a large-scale event for students” write this instead: “As a project coordinator, I managed 50,000 peso budget to plan a large-scale event for 3,000 students.
Say you are a content marketer, instead of plainly writing “I wrote articles on B2B marketing and information technology” write “In a span of 3 months, I wrote 12 articles on B2B marketing and information technology, generating 230,000 pageviews, 7,003 likes, and 11,723 tweets” instead.
4. Qualify your achievements, too.
Sometimes, words do speak louder than numbers. Of course, you cannot ask “how much” all the time. But when you can, you can still go a little further by qualifying it as well.
Remember that quantifying something adds breadth to it; qualifying something, however, adds depth and clarity to things numbers cannot explain.
For example, numbers cannot readily spell out the benefits your previous boss or company got from your skillset. Words can.
Say you are a business development associate and part of your duty is to write client reports each month. Instead of simply quantifying such a task by saying “I crafted 20 client reports each month”, why not qualify what you do even further. Write this instead: “I created and prepared 20 weekly and monthly status reports to ensure clients consistently received timely and complete information.”
Hiring managers know the duties that go with job titles. There is no need to reiterate them in a form they already know. What they do not know, however, is how good you are at what you do.
The best way to demonstrate how good you are is to quantify it. And you can go even further, by qualifying them at the same time.
Keep in mind that it takes only 6 seconds for recruiters to scrutinize and toss your resume. Plus, over 250 resumes attract a single corporate opening in its entire lifespan. Standing out is your primary goal.
The success and accomplishments are best demonstrated when performance is measured – whether quantified, qualified, or both.
Sanburn, J. (2017). How to Make Your Resume Last Longer Than 6 Seconds | TIME.com. [online] TIME.com. Available at: http://business.time.com/2012/04/13/how-to-make-your-resume-last-longer-than-6-seconds/ [Accessed 9 Jul. 2017].
Inc.com. (2015). 11 Interesting Hiring Statistics You Should Know. [online] Available at: https://www.inc.com/peter-economy/19-interesting-hiring-statistics-you-should-know.html [Accessed 9 Jul. 2017].