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Would you benefit from guidance on how to write a resume? If you’ve been struggling to write your resume, you know how incredibly challenging it can be. The clients who come to us for our professional resume writing services describe hour after frustrating hour of trying to figure out the proper format and find just the right words to describe their experience and qualifications in a way that will get attention and get their phone ringing. Many times these clients come up with what they believe is an “okay” resume only to use it in the job market and have it fall flat. The true test of an effective resume, after all, is the results that it generates for you. If your resume isn’t generating results you should look first at the methods you are using in your job search. But if you are sure the methods you are using are effective ones, the likely culprit of the poor results is probably your resume.
The Solution for Writing Compelling Resumes
What can you do to strengthen your resume and make it so compelling and irresistible that employers pick up the phone because they just can’t wait to talk with you and learn more about how hiring you would benefit their company? The “secret” that we use in our professional resume writing firm is the CAR technique. No, I’m not talking about the car sitting in your driveway. CAR is an acronym for the three absolutely crucial elements of a competition-killing, results-generating resume.
CAR = Challenge, Action, Result
When reviewing the ineffective resumes that our clients come to us with, we see the same mistakes time after time: Boring job descriptions that focus on the responsibilities and functions of the job performed. Some clients take the next step and include a few accomplishments, but accomplishments listed without some explanation of the context in which they were delivered mean very little. Accomplishments listed without the results, benefits, and value-add they produced for the employer mean even less.
Rather than just listing out your job responsibilities and accomplishments, I recommend the CAR technique. When you use this technique, you will rewrite your resume’s employment section to tell a compelling “story.” For the maximum impact, your accomplishments should be presented as concise “success studies” complete with challenge faced, action taken, immediate result, and strategic importance. By conveying your accomplishments in this “story” manner, you make a connection with the reader and make yourself far more memorable than all the other job candidates.
The CAR Writing Technique In Practice
This first “before” example resume (below) illustrates the mistakes that many people make when writing their resumes. Boring bulleted lists describe the job functions for which this person was hired. There are a couple of accomplishments and results included, but they are far from the focus of the document. There is also no real way to understand the accomplishments as the situation in which they were produced is not described.
This resume will fall flat when used in the job market. It looks just like every other one. It doesn’t stand out and get attention.
After rewriting the resume (example below) to showcase the challenges, actions, and results, it is far more compelling. This excerpt of the employment section clearly tell you that this candidate is an expert in turning around and revitalizing underperforming divisions and business units. That fact alone sets this candidate apart from his competition. But the resume goes on to describe his many achievements and the results that have been delivered through his work for the company. A boring resume has been transformed into an irresistible one. Employers who are seeking a candidate to help them revive the performance of their company will be drawn to this candidate and won’t be able to pass up calling him to learn more. Note also the design techniques that we’ve used to make what could be an overwhelming amount of information easy to read. The eye is drawn from key point to key point.
Here is another similar example resume. The before version includes some good information, but it is presented in a boring and hard-to-read-at-a-glance format that doesn’t go far enough in describing the situation/challenge. It is also very light on results. This client insisted that it was impossible to quantify results.
The after version shows again what a difference professional resume writing and the CAR technique can make. Although we were still unable to unearth any quantified results, we reworded accomplishments to still focus on the benefits and value add of each accomplishment. A sidebar provides an easy-to-read and eye-catching “snapshot” of the major challenge faced in the position and the overall key results produced. The accomplishments and results presented in context give the reader an immediate understanding of the strategic impact this candidate had on the company. Again, an employer seeking a candidate to help them grow their business to the next level of success will find this candidate irresistible and will feel compelled to pick up the phone and call him for an interview.
For more inspiration on how the CAR technique can be used to turn a dull resume into a winner, take a look at the many professionally written resume examples on our site showcasing the work of Distinctive Documents.