Companies of all shapes and sizes hire one thing (and one thing only): solutions providers. Your resume has to clearly convey what the solution is that you can provide.
Distinguishing your accomplishments helps to define your abilities for a recruiter.
Your accomplishments are defined by the universal language: the language of NUMBERS. Numbers define the size and scope of your previous employer, position, and contribution. Don’t assume that the person reading your resume knows every company on your resume; even if everyone knows what AT&T is, they don’t necessarily know your department!
Defining your role and your employer creates a frame of reference for the hiring manager. Are you concerned about the size of your last company, or your previous budget, or lack thereof? The challenges you have in discussing your history are probably greater than the actual challenges with your experience! Experience is like your shoe size – we all have one. Mine is a 10 ½ – is that good, or bad? It just is what it is. So too your experience – if you worked for a company with $2million or $2billion in revenues, what difference does it make? What matters is the difference you made to the organization.
The Three Step Process for Defining Your Experience:
- Name It: Describe the company’s industry. Even if you worked for Microsoft, you need to explain your division’s role within the organization. Don’t assume the hiring manager knows your company (or division), and take this opportunity to explain the organization in the way that sets up your contribution. A good test is to show your resume to someone who knows nothing about your job or your industry. Do they understand what the company does? Remember to be brief; use keywords to describe the industry in a sentence (or even just a phrase) on your resume.
- Claim It: Results distinguish resumes. The fact that you are “hands-on” is easy to say, but hard to measure. Everyone says they are “enthusiastic” and “dynamic”…but, What did you accomplish? What is the greatest source of personal pride about the position, and what numbers justify your sense of achievement? If you won any awards, make sure to include that information AT THE TOP of the experience
- Frame It: Time accelerates results. Use timeframes to make your accomplishments more powerful, and show yourself to be someone who understands deadlines as well as time management. Condense your info with keywords, and keep it brief!
- Award-winning graphic designer at $4MM media company, responsible for 11 new product campaigns in six-month timeframe for agency’s largest client
- Director of product engineering for Atlanta-based manufacturing firm, with over $220MM in revenues. Led a team of six professional engineers; responsible for two technology patents in 2008.
Everyone’s job experience is different, but every hiring manager deserves to know what they are buying. A resume is a sales document; it’s the first step in the business of selling YOU.
What’s unique about the accomplishments in your background? What information do you want to highlight on your resume, and why? Look forward to your thoughts and comments on effective resume writing!