Focus Your Resume on Results
by Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert
If you find yourself staring blankly at your resume, wondering how to improve it, here’s your answer: Focus on results.
When writing your employment history, detail the outcomes or consequences of your work. After all, results are what prospective employers are hoping to get by hiring someone. Chart the results you’ve achieved throughout your career, and you’re more likely to get the results you want — more calls for interviews.
“A resume is a sales tool,” says Jan Briggs, a senior account executive with MRI of Mountainside, New Jersey, who has more than 13 years of recruitment experience across diverse fields. “I always suggest that a candidate include accomplishments on a resume, because they’re more tangible than job duties. If someone has accomplishments on the resume, they’ll be put on the stack to be read more carefully. They will at least be put on the maybe pile.”
Given the mountains of resumes hiring managers sift through, getting on the maybe pile is a good thing. It means you’ve made the first cut and have a chance at a closer read later.
“It’s harder and more time-consuming to add results to the resume, but it’s worth it,” says John Nelson, a HR consultant and president of Strategic Recruitment Inc. in Huntington Beach, California. He says he wouldn’t necessarily exclude a resume that omitted results, but including them can make a difference in whether the candidate is called.
A survey conducted by Susan Whitcomb, executive director of Fresno, California-based Career Masters Institute and author of Resume Magic, found 82 percent of HR executives felt verifiable accomplishments should be included in a resume. That’s reason enough to dust off your resume and inject it with the results of your work.
Whitcomb offers the following five tips to help you focus your resume on results:
Compare your performance with your peers, other business units or the competition to prove that you delivered excellent results. Look at the impact of using comparisons versus just facts:
Without Comparison: “Improved branch ranking for sales volume to #1.”
With Comparison: “As branch’s sole account executive, improved sales production 42% and increased branch ranking from #12 to #1 in a 15-branch region.”
Run the Numbers
Use numbers to illustrate the effect of your work. These before and after statements illustrate how hard data can drive a point home:
Without Numbers: “Implemented preventive-maintenance program that improved downtime.”
With Numbers: “Improved production 19% and reduced assembly-line downtime from 7 to 1.5 hours per week through implementation of preventive-maintenance program.”
Credit the Team
You’ll look like a team player if you cite team-based accomplishments. Use phrases such as:
- Contributed to…
- Aided in…
- Helped to…
- Member of 7-person taskforce that…
- Collaborated with department managers to…
- Participated on ABC Committee that…
- Supported a…
- Selected for national team that…
Show Your ROI
Employers look for candidates who will generate a return on their investment in salary, training, office space and other costs associated with hiring. These examples demonstrate return on investment (ROI):
- “Reduced transportation costs 20%, or $95,000 per year.”
- “Brought in more than $300,000 in new business during first six months in territory.”
Front-Load Your Resume with Accomplishments
Highlight results toward the top of your resume. On Monster’s Resume Builder, use the Career Objective field to present a qualifications summary that includes accomplishments. Introduce each employer with a line that describes your most impressive achievements at that employer.
Unsure of Your Results?
If you’re having a hard time realizing the results of your work, try converting your job duties into accomplishments by asking yourself a series of questions. Here’s how a laborer identified the results of her work to write a results statement for her resume:
Job duty: Remove stacks of rubber from the conveyor and shovel them into bins.
Questions: Did I learn the job quickly? Did the company monitor my adherence to safety standards? Did I meet production targets?
Results statement: “Quickly mastered rubber molding operations, maintained flawless safety record and exceeded productivity targets by an average of 15%.”
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