If you think it’s hard putting together a solid resume, imagine what it’s like for hiring managers who have to sift through dozens, if not hundreds, of these every day. When you think about what you’re up against, it makes sense to put together a work history that accurately displays your acheivements and makes it easy for recruiters to find what they’re looking for.
So what’s the best way to highlight your experience and get the attention of people who count?
Stay away from job descriptions. Simply reproducing a job description is a surefire way for your resume to get lost in the crowd. A job description is all about the duties of the position. What hiring managers are after is an account of what you did in the job.
Show results. Recruiters are searching for applicants who can demonstrate a record of consistent achievements and results. What you’ve achieved thus far in your career is proof you’re capable of greater things in the future.
Numbers always catch the eye, because they quantify the successes in your prior job performance. Rather than write “Managed office budget”, add the figures involved, such as “Managed $5,000 office budget, generated annual savings of 4%.” Or, “Created new process that cut help-desk response time by average of 30 minutes.”
Challenges faced and overcome. What challenges did you face as part of your job? How did you address them and what were the results? Compile a list of the tasks assigned to you and the steps you took to complete your assignments. If you can quantify the results, be sure to add those as well.
Make it easy to read. Some resumes are all bullet points, while others are filled with paragraphs of text. Bullet points are obviously easier to read, but when there’s too many, they tend to blur together. Paragraphs describing your accomplishments might be more informative, but any block of words is hard for recruiters to scan and will likely get passed over quickly.
The best approach is a well-written combination of bullet points and paragraphs. For each position you’ve held, include a brief paragraph that describes the full scope of what your job entailed, followed by a bullet-point list of what you achieved. You can call this section “Key Achievements” or “Major Contributions”.
Don’t lie. You may be tempted to stretch the truth a bit here and there, exaggerating how much profit you generated for the company or how many dollars were saved as a result of your initiative. Don’t do it. Being honest about your work history is always the best approach.
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