Ten Minute Resume Makeover
Sometimes an old outfit can look new and fresh by adding a new shirt, tie, scarf, or pin. With just one item the look can be transformed quickly without spending a lot of time or money.
Most résumés I read could benefit from a similar transformation. They contain the basics, but they just aren't communicating the information they need to in order to make a lasting impression and wow the reader.
While many resumes adequately explain a job seeker's job responsibilities, few elaborate on the accomplishments within those responsibilities. And let's face it: Many people perform similar jobs with similar competencies. What makes each person unique is the success he or she brought to those positions, not the day-to-day tasks that hundreds of others may be trained to do. Consider these typical resume statements from job seekers who probably have a great deal to offer employers, but are not getting that message across in their documents.
1. Customer Service Representative
Before: Answered questions that pertained to each customer's needs.
Undoubtedly customer service is critical for many positions. But this statement tells the reader little other than that a function of the job was answering questions. Hiring managers want to know what was the volume of the inquiries, how long did it take to resolve customer issues and how did that time frame compare to the company's standards. Are there any powerful examples of how an irate client was satisfied, and were any processes put in place to address redundant questions so time could be freed up to work on more complex issues?
After: Resolved 98% of customer inquiries within 24 hours, exceeding company goal of a 48-hour resolution time. Handled on average 40 customer inquiries per day, exceeding company standard for call volume by 25%.
2. Marketing Professional
Before: Develop and execute promotional opportunities.
Great! Tell me more! What types of campaigns and what were the results? Did the promotions drive revenues, capture a new niche, or take market share away from a competitor? What was going on in the company before these promotions were developed and what is happening now as a result of them?
After: Launched "Go for Gold" marketing campaign resulting is 2,000 qualified leads, a 15% conversion rate, and $5M in new business.
3. Operations Manager
Before: Prepared weekly reporting on equipment performance.
Why were the reports prepared and who received them? Was the report used by senior management for forecasting or decisions on vendor contracts? Was any money or time saved as a result of these reports and if so, how much?
After: Created forecasting reports for senior management that shed light on purchasing redundancies and trimmed 20% off purchasing costs.
4. Sales/Account Manager
Before: Develop business plans and strategies to build rapport and solicit new business accounts.
Sounds important. What were the results? Was new business secured, and if so, what was the percent increase in accounts from last year until now and what were the revenues associated with that new business? Were creative strategies or guerrilla marketing techniques leveraged to obtain the business?
After: Captured 20 new business accounts representing $10M in revenue by creating the business plan to support entree into the Northeast territory.
Spend some time looking at your resume. It may be the single-most important document you ever write. Looking fresh and different is important. Break away from the day-to-day of your work experience and strive to showcase the unique, memorable, creative, and "above and beyond" moments. Your stories of success are what will separate you from the pack and land you the interview.