Creating an Extraordinary Resume Standout & Get Noticed with a Compelling Sales Tool that Gets You Hired With a powerful, well-written resume you are sure to stand out and get noticed. This article guides you through the process of developing a compelling resume that confidently communicates your strengths and experience and sets you apart from the competition. Most people find resume writing to be extremely challenging and intimidating. It doesn’t have to be this way. In this guide, I walk you through the steps to creating a resume you are proud of and one that will land you your dream job. Locking down your resume is, of course, one of the most important aspects of the job search. Having a solid resume you feel good about allows you to quickly respond to promising job leads. All too often people let excellent opportunities slip by because they don’t have an up-to-date resume ready to go. I want to start out by encouraging you not to put too much pressure on yourself. The first drafts of your resume need not be perfect. It’s easy to get hung up on attempting to make it just right the first time. Give yourself time to develop the document. Through several rounds of writing and editing, a high-quality final product will emerge. At times, the resume development process can feel completely overwhelming. The best way to overcome these paralyzing feelings is to take the project one step at a time. Breaking it down into manageable action steps and focusing on one small task at a time is the best way to achieve any goal. This article is organized in that step-by-step fashion so you can easily move through each resume-building phase. Specifically in this guide, I walk you through an essential step to creating an extraordinary resume – highlighting your accomplishments, outcomes and results Focus on Accomplishments, Outcomes and Results The number one resume mistake is focusing too much on job duties and not enough on accomplishments. Hiring authorities want to see the specific results you’ve achieved in your current and past positions. They’re looking for compelling evidence that you can solve their problems and be a valuable member of their team. This provides them with a compelling reason to call you for an interview. The more you focus on outcomes, the stronger your resume will be. Instead of simply listing your job duties, go a step further and describe how well you did them. Demonstrate that you are a proactive problem solver who produces results. Focus on achievements that are of the most interest to your target hiring authorities. Specifically, concentrate on what your accomplishments resulted in and provide numbers where you can. For example, certain on-the-job results are quantifiable such as: • Increased Revenue • Decreased Costs • Increased Productivity • Increased Client Satisfaction Consider the following example of a resume bullet for a marketing professional. Option one is the “bland bullet” that simply focuses on her job duties. The second one expands on the concept and provides the specifics of what she accomplished. Option One Managed sales campaign to promote technology products in 38 markets nationwide. Option Two Led the development and implementation of a sales campaign to intensely promote technology products in 38 markets nationwide; Campaign generated $1.5 million in net income, exceeding target by $300,000. As you can see, bullet number two packs a much greater punch! Adding specific outcome data makes your words jump off the page. Of course, some on-the-job accomplishments are easier to quantify than others. While it won’t be possible to quantify each of your results, do the best you can to provide specific and measurable data such as numbers, years and financial figures wherever possible. You can also embed quotes from colleagues familiar with your work such as managers or clients. A first-hand account from a former boss or associate about one of your successes can make a fantastic impression on your resume. Potential sources to obtain these quotes from include your past performance evaluations and recommendations on your LinkedIn profile. If there isn’t room for a quote on your resume, you can always include it in the cover letter and/or during your interview presentation. Of course, it goes without saying, you need to be completely honest and accurate with your outcomes. Do not embellish in any way. That being said, do of course take credit where credit is due. For example, a key accomplishment on your resume might be: Collaborated with the Director of Finance to create the annual program budget. This is a somewhat strong bullet point. What makes it even stronger is providing more specifics by saying: Collaborated with the Director of Finance to create program budget, resulting in 35% net savings in annual programmatic costs. You may need to search through your work archives to pinpoint the details of your outcomes. It certainly can be challenging to remember all the specifics, especially when it’s been several years. This is why, I suggest you keep a “success file.” Your success file is a special place you store information on your accomplishments. That way, you won’t have to struggle to piece together the details in the future. For detailed instructions on how to establish and maintain a Success File, see Program III of this series – Standout Like a Superstar. Go to the section titled Boosting Your Communication Power – Building Block 2: Promoting Yourself with Ease.) More Examples The following are additional illustrations of how to amp up the impact of your bullet points by adding in results. Each of the following is a real example from one of my client’s resumes. For each of my on-one-one clients, I conduct a full resume critique at the beginning of their coaching program. In those critiques I provide wording and phrasing suggestions to strengthen bullet points. The following are examples of how I re-crafted bullet language based on my knowledge of their work accomplishments and by asking the client incisive questions to help them hone in on their particular results. Original Bullet Point Managed book publicity tour for best-selling author. Strengthened Bullet Point Managed book publicity tour for best-selling author resulting in an 18% increase in book sales and generating revenues of over $110K. Original Bullet Point Managed wireless communication accounts. Strengthened Bullet Point Managed wireless communication accounts. Results included: • 23% increase in account volume • Client satisfaction improved by 20% • 80% of client billing issues resolved Original Bullet Point Developed successful grant proposals. Strengthened Bullet Point Developed successful grant proposals; generating over $4M in funding over an eight-month period. Original Bullet Point Oversaw operational improvements to the organization’s infrastructure and technology. Strengthened Bullet Point Oversaw operational improvements to the organization’s infrastructure and technology, including: • Reduced energy consumption by 40% resulting in over $50,000 in annual savings • Enhanced the corporate website, making it more user-friendly and navigable resulting in $22,500 savings in annual maintenance fees These accomplishments look quite impressive, and they are. However, don’t be intimidated. These results were achieved by real people just like you. I bet if you simply spend a bit of concentrated time reviewing your work history, you will identify some outstanding outcomes of your own. Start by going through your resume and designate the bullets that can be strengthened by tacking on a result. Then, ask yourself what the result was. Be specific and quantify the outcomes where possible. Craft bullet language that accurately articulates the accomplishment you achieved. Many people are concerned about overstating their role in an on-the-job success. Of course, many positive achievements are the product of a team effort. This will most likely be the case with some of your result-oriented bullets. For those bullets, provide proper attribution by using phrases such as: • “Key member of research team that …” • “Led a group of five managers who produced …” • “Integral member of strategic planning group that …” Do not underestimate the power of including outcomes, accomplishments and results on your resume. Sometimes you may need to “dig deep” to piece together your past on-the- job successes and their resultant impact. However, it is time well spent and will pay off for you in both the immediate short-term and long-term as well. I want you to know most people find it challenging to identify their accomplishments on their own.
If you are feeling this way, please know you are not alone. Of course, I’m happy to support you with this. I’ve helped just about everyone I’ve ever coached identify their accomplishments. So, even if you think you don’t have any, I’m confident I can assist you in coming up with some compelling material for your resume.
If you feel you’d like assistance with this, I invite you to schedule a one-on-one coaching session with me.
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Now, let’s move on to your Career Success Guide to Keyword Optimizing Your Resume.