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Free Mini Audio Workshop – Tip #4: Differentiate Yourself – Transform Your Resume With Achievements & Results
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Hi and welcome back! This is Michelle Dumas, founder and executive director of Distinctive Career Services LLC – the Internet’s premiere resume writing and career marketing specialists.
You are listening to the fourth audio in my seminar series: Revive Your Resume: A Simple 5-Step System to Dramatically Improve Your Resume Results.
Today’s Step is #4: Differentiate Yourself – Transform Your Resume with Achievements & Results
If you have ever talked to me, if you have read any of my writing, or visited my website, you have probably seen or heard me use the phrase “career marketing”. What do you suppose I mean by this?
At its very core, if you think about it, a job search is a sales and marketing campaign. It is a campaign very similar to any other sales and marketing campaign in which you are selling a product or service. But in a job search, of course, you are selling the ultimate product – you are selling YOURSELF!
Now, of course, at the essence of all marketing campaigns is an understanding of the priorities and primary problems of the target audience. But beyond that, the communication of the benefits that the product or service that you are selling will deliver in relation to those priorities and problems.
My request today is that you to begin thinking about your job search and your resume in this very same way. You are the product that you are selling and as such, you have value and benefits to offer your target audience – the employers and hiring authorities. These values and benefits need to be conveyed in your resume. Your job search really is a personal sales and marketing campaign.
Through the first few steps of this program, I have been talking a lot about developing the profile section of your resume. Today, I’d like to focus mainly on the body of your resume – this is the section that will generally include a reverse chronological listing of your employment or other professional experience. It is in this section that so many people make the critical mistake of writing boring job descriptions.
Do you know what the two most overused and misused phrases in resume writing are? “Responsibilities included” and “duties included.” Think about what a discussion of responsibilities really tell the reader. Responsibilities tell the reader what you were supposed to do, not what you did do. Let me give you a simple example that any parent can relate to. My daughter, a teenager, is responsible for cleaning her bedroom. But, that certainly doesn’t mean that she actually does it, and writing in a resume “responsibilities included keeping a neat bedroom” doesn’t make it any more true or convincing. So, in writing your resume, remember to use active language and verbs – to tell the reader what you did do, not what you were supposed to do.
Alright, now again, lets talk about your resume as a sales-focused marketing document.
Job descriptions don’t distinguish you from anyone else that does the same or a similar job as you. Job descriptions are really just the baseline of what is expected from you. If someone else in your position were to write a resume focused on job descriptions, it would read almost identical to your resume. Certainly, this isn’t what you want!
Instead, the body of your resume and the chronology of your work experience needs to be focused on achievements and results.
To capture and hold reader attention, you have to tell a compelling story of the challenges and problems you have faced, the actions you took to meet those challenges, and then the results and benefits of those actions – the actual return on investment of your actions. Writing your professional chronology in this way will engage the reader, essentially painting a picture of how you have added value in the past and thus, helping them to envision how you will add value in the future to their organization.
This writing technique is often referred to as the Challenge – Action – Result technique of the CAR technique – and it is a secret that professional resume writers frequently use to really make a resume stand out and grab attention.
So, lets take just a moment and break the technique down into easy-to-implement pieces.
Think about each position you have held. What were the primary problems that you were faced with? What were the challenges your were facing and the goals that were laid out for you?
Now, what did you do to meet those challenges and solve those problems? This is the meat of the achievement and is actually where most people make the mistake of stopping?.
But I want you to go on to the sizzle. What were the actual results of the actions that you took? Did you produce measurable or quantifiable improvements? Even if you can’t express the result in numbers, can you describe the benefits of your work? How was the company better off for the work that you did?
I urge you to take some time right now to put this into practical use and enhance your resume with Challenge-Action-Result success stories.
The results of your achievements are what will really make your resume stand out and what will really capture the attention of the recipient. The results help round out your achievements and add to their credibility. They go directly to the heart of the issue I discussed a couple of steps back: illustrating exactly how you will deliver a strong return on the investment the employer makes in hiring you.
In the final step of this program: Generate Extraordinary Results – Magical Finishing Touches for Your Resume, I’ll pull everything together and give you the tips you need to create a resume that really outshines and outperforms your peers.