Monday, January 3, 2011

Task versus Achievement-Based Resume

Let's see...what seems more interesting a laundry list of all the menial daily tasks and functions you preformed at each and every job OR well-written, action statements illustrating the impact of your accomplishments?  For example, a receptionist or executive assistant resume may state:

"I answered the phones" 

or 

"Monitored and managed more than 1,500 weekly telephone calls from customers, vendors, media, and contractors for 750 staff members for largest architectural firm in New Jersey"

An example for a sales manager may be:

"Hired, managed, and trained sales representatives"

or

"Recruited, hired, managed, mentored, and motivated more than 120 sales representatives to develop customer service and sales skills resulting in more than $1.5 million in sales revenue"

An interview-landing resume doesn’t just tell what you did or know how to do (task oriented) it illustrates how well you did those things (accomplishment oriented). Readers want to know and see hardcore facts, figures, numbers (#, $, %). You want this information to be indicative of your entire career not just job by job.

The hiring manager already has a general idea of the tasks and responsibilities involved in the jobs you have held.  What she wants to know is how your skills and experience and handling of those duties impacted the bottom line for the company. The recruiting manager wants to read what the job seeker has done to enhance operations, boost revenues, bolster profits, decrease operating costs, improve business processes, save time, increase productivity, and or advance technologies.

An accomplishment oriented resume is what sells the reader on your personal and professional value.  Rather than the old laundry list of duties, functions, and job responsibilities demonstrate, in writing, how your expertise in doing those tasks benefited the company.

An easy formula for this is AARQ ("Ark"): Action, Accomplishment, Result, Quantify.  What action did you take and / or accomplishment did you achieve?  What was the result of this action?  Quantify the resulting impact on the company.  Here's an example from a recent, real client:
  • What action did you take?  Managed revenue budget.
  • What was the result of this action?  Exceeded revenue goals and increased revenue.
  • Can you quantify the action or result?  Managed $77 million revenue budget, exceeded revenue goals, increased revenue by 38%
  • Final resume line item: Managed $77 million revenue budget for third party marketing products, continually exceeded revenue goals, and steered 38% revenue growth
It can be really easy to bolster your resume by turning your tasks into bottom line driven, powerful achievements that will catch the reader's attention.  A company is concerned with their bottom line, illustrate your experience in improving the bottom line.  Use your resume as a tool to convey your value to the prospective employing company and expect more interviews in the future.


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Ramsey Penegar is an executive resume consultant and is certified as a professional resume writer by the Professional Association of Resume Writers.  She has developed 1,000s of resumes for executives all over the United States and for international clients as well.  With more than 15 years experience in marketing and sales, she has the skills to build effective job search marketing campaigns and attention-getting resumes.


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