FOCUS ON ACCOMPLISHMENTS OVER DUTIES FOR A POWERFUL RESUME
In “writing” there’s a phrase big-time hoohah professionals like myself use all the time when evaluating work – “Show…don’t tell.” This adage is particularly true when putting together your resume.
What it boils down to is the imperative to demonstrate your skills and experiences through action rather than just plastering a list of dates, places, and (ugh) duties, on a page.
They say it’s not what you do it’s how you do it. With that in mind, there is one big secret:
If a resume were an entrée then quantifying would be the spices – it’s the salt and pepper, the cumin, and the oregano. Speaking in “Top Chef” terms, the numbers are what make Tom Collecchio and Padma sit up and say, “I could eat a bowl of this everyday.” They are the flavors that stay in the recruiter’s mind long after the plate is on the table. And I’m getting hungry.
The point is, it is important to quantify the bullet points in your resume. It instantly converts your abstract duties into defined accomplishments:
Which would you be more likely to hire?
Before: “Duties included outreach and media for programs and events while overseeing a large advertising budget.”
After: “Oversaw outreach and media while consistently coming in under budget – saved over $20k annually”
See, you are drawn to the number immediately and (if possible) financial figures are always best.
TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES
Your actions improved your company’s portfolio in many ways, so think beyond the immediate. In addition to adding numbers, consider consequences.
Before: “Updated social media and e-blasts on a weekly basis”
After: “Crafted social media and e-blast updates that increased SEO and open rates by over 10%, actively benefiting online presence”
It should be clear which of these is preferable, and it will definitely be clear to those who are looking over your resume.
BUT I’M NOT A NUMBERS PERSON
What if you don’t really work with numbers? Your job requires emphasis on those softer skills and you don’t have a spreadsheet from which to pull scads of data. Be not afraid! You can find quantifiable results in almost any profession.
HORSESHOES AND HAND-GRENADES
An approximate value works just as well – don’t be concerned if you don’t have the precise number. Use a range – such as…
Before: “Led a group of researchers”
After: “Supervised 10-12 graduate level research students each of whom went on to prestigious Ph.D. programs in chemistry and physics”
HOW MUCH AND HOW OFTEN
The most common way to quantify is to talk about frequency. Think about how many times you accomplish something you perform regularly and write that down.
Before: “Wrote and edited all press releases”
After: “Crafted and reviewed 6-10 press releases per week and evaluated specific media strategies regarding each, resulting in an increase of media attention”
Is it all about the numbers? Not exactly, but they are certainly the spice of life (and s/he who controls the spice…!). So at my instigation, go back over your resume to quantify as much as possible.
We both know that you are so much more than just a few sums… but those digits sure make people sit up and take notice.