Help, My Resume Has No Accomplishments!
Imagine that you’re an employer, and two people are sitting in front of you interviewing for a job.
Candidate #1 is enthusiastic, determined to convince you of his value, but has little to show for it beyond personal assurances.
Candidate #2 hands you a resume that’s filled with quantifiable accomplishments, proof not only that he’s delivered results at every stage of his career, but that he also understands the value of what he’s done and the importance of communicating it.
Who do you think is more likely to land the job?
It may be easy to guess that Candidate #2 makes a better impression, but did you know that that accomplishment-heavy resumes enable professionals to consistently negotiate higher salaries, transition from management to senior management/executive roles, and even allow for major switches between industries? It all comes down to the power of clearly defined successes. Employers are looking for quality people who can deliver maximum ROI with low risk. When you take the time to create a resume which hinges on accomplishments, you address both of these areas.
1) Use the Problem-Action-Result Strategy
Get away from thinking about your current job in terms of daily/weekly responsibilities, and more from a POV of how you changed things for the better. When brainstorming, track a project or action along the following 3 criteria:
- What Problem Did I Face?
- What Action(s) Did I Take to Address it?
- What was the Result?
Here are some possible areas to consider: revenue generation, business development, cost savings, process improvement, productivity gain. Don’t judge the merits of possible accomplishments prematurely- all successes carry weight, and at this stage you want to collect as many as you possibly can.
2) Translate Accomplishments into Bullet Points
Resumes utilize a particular language all their own, one which begins with the success first, and then describes how it was attained. Here’s how to turn your P-A-R (Problem-Action-Result) information into resume accomplishments:
Problem: Quality issues with external manufacturers in U.S., Mexico and Asia
Action: I took full ownership of sourcing and managing a new group of external manufacturers in the U.S., Mexico, and Asia. I developed and implemented a new oversight system resulting in major gains in product cost, quality, and timeliness (eliminating delays).
Result: 20% overall gain in product cost effectiveness, combined with a significant quality boost resulting in greater customer satisfaction.
How this might look on your resume:
- Cut product costs 20%- while simultaneously increasing quality standards and customer satisfaction- through sourcing a new group of external manufacturers in the U.S., Mexico, and Asia and introducing effective oversight system.
Problem: Company was facing a steady, year-over-year decline in subscribers, most of whom were Baby Boomers in the Northeast.
Action: I designed and managed a new marketing and rebranding campaign designed to promote our services to millenials. I partnered with a leading ad agency to implement these strategies and served as a the “go to” person in charge of its success.
Result: We grew targeted market share in the Northeast by 35%, and increased profitability by approximately $12M per year.
How this might look on your resume:
- Increased profits by approx. $12M per year and opened a new chapter in company history through successfully re-targeting marketing and advertising efforts from Baby Boomer to Millenials. End result: 35% market share in Northeast region inside of 3 years (and growing).
Career accomplishments DO NOT have to be company-altering to be effective! Let them serve as natural indicators of what happens when you do what you truly love. Possible topics are endless, and can include:
- How you salvaged an at-risk client relationship.
- How you changed a toxic workplace culture into an “all hands on deck” culture that rewards collaboration and feedback.
- How you saw a chance to eliminate a long-standing problem or operational bottleneck within the company (and now everything functions better!)