Sunday, March 10, 2013

Spice up your resume: Achievements vs Duties

You may have seen a couple of times on here that you should be listing achievements in the bullet points after your job title, not just duties. What exactly does that mean? Let's start with an example.

Here is a job listing sample that is only duty based: 

Retail Sales Associate
Buy More

  • Assisted customers with finding products to match their needs.
  • Offered customers protection plans for their products.
  • Processed credit card applications.

Now, here is the same job listing sample, but now it is achievement based:

Retail Sales Associate
Buy More

  • Assisted up to 35 customers daily, helping them match their needs to our products.
  • Met or surpassed daily goals for selling protection plans at least 85% of the time.
  • Processed over 100 credit card applications, twice ranked as the top employee for amount of credit cards sold to customers in a month time frame.
Now, let me ask: which one would you hire? Now you are probably wondering how to turn your resume around into an achievement based one like I did above. Here are some great guidelines for you to use.

1. Use Numbers

In each of the bullet points, I used some kind of number. Two of them were actual amounts (35 customers and 100 credit card applications) and one of them was a percentage (85%). For each one of your bullet points, you may not have a number to associate with it, and that is completely okay. You may not also know exact numbers, so use estimates like I did in the example above with phrases like "at least" or "over" or "up to." Numbers are more decisive and revealing of your work effort and motivation.

2. Action Words For the Win!

Both of my examples used action words, and it makes a huge difference when you don't use them. What are action words? Assisted, offered, and processed are all action words. Here is an example on how it can make a difference:
  • Familiar with best practices for an exemplary customer service experience.
  • Used best practices for an exemplary customer service experience.
You might throw your hands up and say "you just said the exact same thing!" but, I didn't! In my first bullet point I said I was only familiar with the practices. Does the potential employer know that I actually know how to use them? By using the second bullet point, I've shown that not only am I familiar with them, I actually performed the action.

3. Keep your tense the same

Remember learning about present and past tense in middle school? Well we want to keep them the same across the board. Even if you are talking about a current position, go ahead and use past tense to make it flow easier with the rest of your resume. If you do want to use present tense, make sure that everything is in present tense (see how awkward that gets?)

Hopefully these tips will help. Have any additional ones? Please put them in the comments!

1 comment:

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