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If you have gone in search of tutorials on how to write a resume, you know that there is an overabundance of information on the internet, much of it conflicting and much of it from individuals who have no true true expertise in the field. A Google search on the phrase “how to write a resume” returned more than 400,000 results!
One of the most frequent tips offered on the topic of how to write a resume includes the advice to focus on accomplishments rather than responsibilities. But, what does that mean? How do you put that advice into practice?
It is very important for you to remember that you won’t get hired for what you KNOW HOW to do, you will get hired for what you DO and PRODUCE/ACHIEVE with what you know how to do. In fact, this is probably THE most important point for you to remember as you write your resume (or put together the information to have a professional write it). Many people make the mistake of selling features (responsibilities) rather than benefits (achievements/results). To stand out and get attention, you must place the emphasis on achievements, quantifying your results whenever possible. Avoid writing your resume so that it sounds like a job description. Your job duties and responsibilities don’t do anything to differentiate you. They are just baseline qualifications that all your competition will have.
To illustrate this, here is an example of a resume before it was professionally rewritten. As you can see, it reads almost like a job description. There is nothing here to distinguish this job candidate from any other director of sales. There is nothing that will interest the reader and compel him to pick up the phone and call the job candidate for more information and an interview appointment.
After the resume was rewritten by Distinctive Documents, it became a powerful marketing marketing tool that showcased the job candidate’s most impressive and relevant accomplishments complete with success stories that succinctly explain the challenges faced, actions taken, results of those actions (using numbers when they were available), and strategic importance of these accomplishments. What an extraordinary difference!
When you read “how to write a resume” tutorials, the above is what is meant by the advice to focus on accomplishments. Employers want to know what you can do for them and how hiring you will produce benefits for them. The most convincing way of providing this information to them this is to show them how you have produced results and solved problems for past employers. You should always try to write in terms of the “so what” of your achievement. What did you improve, save, increase, enhance, etc? What impact did the work you do have on the companies? Whenever you can do so, you should use numbers to illustrate your results (dollar figures, percentages, raw numbers, etc.), but even if you are unable to quantify achievements, the emphasis should still be on the results/benefits of your work.
While tutorials on how to write a resume can help, if you have difficulty being objective about your qualifications or identifying and presenting your accomplishments, you should seriously consider the assistance of a professional resume writer. As you can easily see from the before and after example above, a skilled professional writer can make an immense positive difference in how well your resume promotes you and in the overall results and success of your job search.