Imagine you’ve read through 200 resumes (okay you really only scanned the front pages). Your eyeballs are about to turn back in your head. You think, “If I read another boring, bland resume, I’m gonna scream!”
So you pick up #201.
And what happens?
Now lets turn the tables. Your resume is #201. What happens now?
Too often we are so focused on our own resume we don’t think about it in terms of the person or people who will be reading it and making a decision that could have a huge impact on our future career and life. What will result from getting this job? Or not getting it? Different pictures, right?
So I want you to step back a little and think about your resume in terms of the reader. The hiring manager or recruiter who is going to have to “buy” you and what you have to offer.
Are you an easy purchase? Or are they going to have buyers’ regret?
How can you push your resume into the “call” pile?
Did you catch their attention?
This is where marketing comes in. Positioning. Differentiation. Competitive Advantage. Unique Selling Proposition.
Basically, what sets you apart from all those other resumes?
And that where your “Accomplishments” come in.
You wouldn’t believe how many resumes I come across that are just a recitation of job duties. Yes, its important that you can do the job. But if you have accomplishments that are related to the job I’m hiring for, I figure you can handle the details. If I see a list of job duties, I wonder if you can actually do those well.
Why keep the focus on job duties and keep the hiring manager wondering if you know what you’re doing?
Knock their socks off by showing them you’re the cream of the crop, not the cream of the crap.
How do you do it?
Show off your “M’s”
Now maybe I’m partial to “M’s” given my first and last name start with an “M”. And yes, my favorite candy is “M&M’s”.
But you really do need to show your “M’s”.
So what are the “M’s”?
Measurable = Numbers, Percentages, Dollars, Savings, Earnings, Sales
Meaningful = Big Enough to Matter
Memorable = Unexpected or Unique or something that has the “Ahh-Factor”
Now let’s look at each of them.
This is the first requirement. It is one that many authorities reference. But there are some subtleties too.
This is the part where you quantify what you’ve accomplished.
So first you have to figure out something you accomplished. It is really important to review your accomplishments and document them at least annually and ideally quarterly.
Why do it that often? Because your mind will forget otherwise. And you’ll find yourself trying to put together your resume and not having those details.
And details are important too. Here’s some examples.
“Increased sales.” That sounds like a good thing. But couldn’t anyone say that? How do I know? Sounds like they just pulled it out of their butt.
How about this one?
“Increased Sales $50,000” That’s a little better. Have a number now. Still, is that good or meaningful? I just don’t know.
“Increased Sales $49,643” An odd number. What’s that about? Using an odd number implies accuracy. You think, why would they have put that number instead of $50,000? You can doubt $50,000. But hard to doubt $49643.
Let’s take it a little further.
“Increased sales by $49,643 in 60 days by uncovering and converting a previously unrecognized opportunity that the company hadn’t noticed”
In that statement I see a real, quantified accomplishment ($49,643). It was achieved quickly (60 days – speed matters as time is money). I’m intrigued by the accomplishment (uncovering and converting a previously unrecognized opportunity – that is going to get the person to want to find out what you did – and call you for an inteview).
Now wasn’t that much better than “Increased Sales”?
So make sure you’re really quantifying things.
In the last example we looked at growing sales $49,643. Was that meaningful?
Well that depends.
Well, we need a basis of comparison.
If this was a one-man operation making $50,000 per year prior to that, then almost doubling sales is meaningful.
But if it was a multi-billion dollar company, that wouldn’t even move the needle.
You see that with experience. It used to be companies would advertise that they have over 500 years of experience. And if that was one person that would really be a sight. But if it is 100 people with 5 years experience each, that doesn’t mean much.
So you can see, number manipulation to create an effective comparison is important. Yes, it can go too far. And you will lose credibility there. But you can choose the appropriate comparison to make your accomplishments reflect the meaningfulness that they deserve.
This is the quality most left out of a good accomplishment bullet point.
This is often what can make or break your resume. Memorable accomplishments just connect with a hiring manager. A generic one often passes by, and takes the resume with it. No call to schedule an interview. Your resume is dropped into the trash can, never to be seen again.
What is a memorable one?
Did you work with or for a high profile, brand name client (like Google, Facebook, IBM, etc.)?
Did you contribute to a memorable event?
Were you the first to do something?
Are you a thought leader?
Basically you’re looking for something that sets you apart. Something everyone hasn’t done who’s been in your role or hiring for it.
Duck Wearing Bow-Tie Walks Into Pub, Drinks Pint, Fights Dog, Loses
This headline was found and passed on by my friend, and Small Business Copywriter, Troy White.
The point is. Is your resume bland and boring? Or does it catch the reader’s eye?
If you worked for a minor league baseball team and you had Duck Day at the park, could you work something similar into your resume?
“Grew baseball park sales 28% with one blockbuster ‘Rubber Duck Pirate’ promotion.”
How would you rank your accomplishments in terms of the “3 M’s”?
Are they Measurable?
Are they Meaningful?
Are they Memorable?
Do your accomplishments stack up? Do they need some extra TLC to make them pop? Or do you need to actually accomplish something meaningful?
If the latter, be on the lookout for opportunities. They can be most anywhere. But you have to be open to them and willing to take on the challenges others may shy away from.
If the former, maybe you just someone else’s perspective. If that is the case, contact me to see how I may help.
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