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Focus Your Resume on Results, Not Tasks

What seems more interesting: a laundry list of all the menial daily tasks and functions you performed at each and every job, or well-written action statements illustrating the impact of your accomplishments?

For example, a receptionist or executive assistant resume may state ”I answered the phones” or “Monitored and managed more than 1,500 weekly telephone calls from customers, vendors, media, and contractors for 750 staff members for largest architectural firm in New Jersey.”

An example for a sales manager may be: ”Hired, managed and trained sales representatives” or ”Recruited, hired, managed, mentored and motivated more than 120 sales representatives to develop customer service and sales skills resulting in more than $1.5 million in sales revenue.”

An interview-landing resume doesn’t just tell what you did or know how to do (task-oriented), it illustrates how well you did those things (accomplishment oriented). Recruiters and hiring managers want to know and see hard-core facts, figures and numbers. This type of information should be indicative of your entire career, not just job by job.

From your resume, the hiring manager already has a general idea of the tasks and responsibilities involved in the jobs you have held. What he or she wants to know is how your skills and experience impacted the bottom line for the company. The recruiting manager wants to know what the job seeker has done to enhance operations, boost revenues, bolster profits, decrease operating costs, improve business processes, save time, increase productivity and/or advance technologies.

An accomplishment-oriented resume is what sells the reader on your personal and professional value. Rather than a laundry list of daily duties, functions and job responsibilities, this type of resume demonstrates, in writing, how your expertise in doing those tasks benefited the company.

An easy formula for this is AARQ (“Ark”):

  • Action — What was the action you took or initiated to make a difference in results?
  • Accomplishments & Results — What did your actions accomplish at the end of the project, year, etc.?
  • Quantify — Now incorporate the numbers and statistics into your story by quantifying the resulting impact on the company.

Here’s an example from a recent client:

  • What action did you take? Managed revenue budget.
  • What was the result of this action? Exceeded revenue goals and increased revenue.
  • Can you quantify the action or result? Managed $77 million revenue budget, exceeded revenue goals, increased revenue by 38 per cent.

You then take all of that and put it on your resume as such:

  • Managed $77 million revenue budget for third party marketing products, continually exceeded revenue goals, and steered 38 per cent revenue growth.

It can be really easy to bolster your resume by turning your tasks into bottom-line driven, powerful achievements that will catch the reader’s attention. A company is concerned with their bottom line so speak their language and illustrate your experience as it relates to them. Use your resume as a tool to convey your value to the prospective employing company and expect more interviews in the future.

Ramsey Penegar is an executive resume consultant and is certified as a professional resume writer by the Professional Association of Resume Writers. 

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