Brainstorming Your Way to an Accomplishment-Based Resume
There are hardly enough hours in the day to complete everything you do at work, right? Verbally, you can probably rattle off a long list of all your responsibilities. Some are outlined in your job description; others go above and beyond your call of duty.
When searching for a new position, your “above and beyond” accomplishments are exactly what set you apart from dozens, perhaps hundreds, of equally qualified candidates. Results can convey why you are the right person for the job. Capturing your qualifications and achievements in a well-written resume requires some brainstorming, like the tactic professional resume writers use.
Articulate Your Responsibilities and Highlight Your Accomplishments
If you are a customer service representative, and you write “answer phones, resolve issues, and deliver excellent customer service,” on your resume, aren’t those responsibilities to be expected? What will make a hiring manager or recruiter view you as more qualified than many other candidates?
Quantifying the number of phone calls you take per day, if above average, would strengthen the statement that you “answer phones.” Explaining the effective techniques you use to handle complaints or convince customers to keep using your company’s service is more compelling than to write that you “resolve issues.” Citing recognition awards you’ve received for delivering “excellent customer service” validates your success and abilities in your current role.
Showing the results of your efforts (accomplishments), along with detailing important responsibilities and tasks, demonstrates the importance of your work. That’s what makes your resume shout: “Look at me! I’m the one!”
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Use a CAR (Format) to Drive Your Resume to the Top of the Pile
As About.com recommends, you should think about the areas in which you have helped make your company successful to create your career-defining accomplishments. An effective way to do this is by using what’s known as the Challenge-Actions-Results (CAR) format.
Let’s say you are a sales executive, and you significantly increased the monthly sales volume for a company. That’s certainly a great accomplishment to include on your resume. But you need to go a step further to prove that your actions—not simply a growing market—are what led to the increase.
The sales volume when you took the position would represent the challenge. Whatever you did to increase the sales volume would be your actions. The increase in the company’s profit would represent your results.
How a CAR Brainstorming Session Works:
Taking each of the steps separately, you’d come up with an example like this:
Challenge: Before you assumed the role, the company’s monthly revenues averaged half of what its competitors averaged.
Actions: You developed strategic marketing partnerships after conducting in-depth market research on the company’s competitors. You spearheaded projects to increase efficiencies and enhance the quality of client services and developed a client referral program.
Results: Monthly sales increased from $40,000 to $120,000 in less than six months while you were in the role.
Based on your CAR brainstorm, you could develop the following quantifiable accomplishment bullet to include on your resume:
- Tripled monthly revenues to $120,000 through marketing initiatives and a highly-structured customer service approach; conducted in-depth market research to establish a competitive edge.
This type of bullet captures attention when hiring professionals are sifting through resumes.
CAR-Driven Accomplishments Aren’t Only for Sales Professionals
Just because you don’t sell services or products directly to clients, doesn’t mean you can’t quantify your accomplishments at a company. Consider these examples:
- Utilized strong investigative skills and research techniques to identify growth opportunities that resulted in (here you’d list the accomplishment).
- Increased employee retention, morale, and productivity by (percentage here) through the development of recognition programs; promoted individual growth and development, utilizing performance improvement tools.
- Formalized policies and streamlined procedures to improve communications and reduce costs by (dollar figure or percentage here); created, wrote and introduced employee manual that improved training and customer service by (percentage here).
Actions such as these could very well be part of a role outside of sales, which bring significant value and contribute to a company’s growth. So keep track of your accomplishments throughout your career. That way, you can easily highlight them in your resume.
Still unsure about driving the CAR into your accomplishment-based resume? Consider using a professional resume writing service to help you put it into gear.