Writing a Resume? Talk about what you accomplished, not what you were asked to do

Recruiting a new hire is an expensive process. The average job posting receives 250 applications and popular postings receive in excess of 1,000. A pile of resumes must be reviewed to determine who to invite to a phone screen. Phone screens must be performed to determine who should be invited for an interview. An in-person interview may last several hours per candidate and involve several members of the team. which must be reduced to a smaller pool of candidates with whom to follow up for a phone interview. Whew!

 

Chucking a bland, vague, or error-ridden resume before the phone screen is the fastest (and therefore cheapest) way to screen out a candidate.

 

So, what kind of resume makes the grade? Here is a snippet of a classic new grad resume:

 

Customer Service Lead, Some Company, Anytown, CA

 

Sounds pretty standard, right? Here is how a recruiter or hiring manager reads this resume (assuming they read past the first bullet):

 

Employers only want to spend time and money on applicants that will provide a return on the investment by becoming productive and successful employees. Show them that you’re worth the money by including quantifiable accomplishments.

 

Quantifiable accomplishments use specific data to show how well you did your job, not just what you did (or were supposed to do).

 

We can improve the resume snippet above by simply including quantifiable accomplishments:

Customer Service Lead, Some Company, Anytown, CA

 

It’s okay if you weren’t employee of the month or you didn’t single-handedly increase sales 400%, but try to identify the specific areas where you made an impact for each job on your resume. Need help? Ask your former manager or coworkers to help you brainstorm. Sometimes other people notice things about your performance that you might take for granted. Now, go edit your resume so that it sells what you can really do!

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