Seven Helpful Hints
Use before-and-after comparisons. For example: "Before I organized the inventory, orders took
three hours to process. After I organized the inventory, orders were processed in 20 minutes." Such before-and-after statements are easily turned into written accomplishments: "Organized inventory and saved more than two and one-half hours per order."
- Add numbers, data, details, facts and percentages.
||250 page status report
|Very short time
||$250 million furniture manufacturer
||Managed 18 person sales staff
- Condense long sentences into short ones.
|Served as SOHIO liaison with the Northwest Alaskan Pipeline
Company, which headed the consortium charged with designing and constructing a
$2 billion cubic foot per day gas processing facility on the North Slope of Alaska
and a gas pipeline from this facility to the lower 48 states. The estimated project
costs were $43 billion.
||Served as liaison on $43 billion project to line-process
and transport 26 trillion cubic feet from the Prudhoe Bay Reservoir to the lower 48
- Be relevant. If you repainted the factory, that's irrelevant (unless you want a painting job). If you repainted the factory for $10,000 less than last year, that's significant.
- Avoid glowing generalities, statements that fall into the category of "able to leap tall buildings in a single bound." If not supported by facts, they aren't believable.
|"Work well under pressure"
||Give a specific example of a pressured situation where you performed well.
|"Thrive in fast-paced environment"
||Give a concrete example of an accomplishment that demanded fast-paced activity.
||Give one example of a decision you made that brought desirable, measurable results.
||Fill your resume with specific, measurable achievements.
|"Outstanding leadership skills"
||Give an example of a project that you led that produced outstanding results.
||Document several big successes.
- Be realistic. An achievement statement should sound difficult, but not impossible. If it sounds
"too good to be true" and you take credit for it, it may damage your credibility.
Also, there's a thin line between sounding good and bragging. Sounding good is fine but bragging isn't. One client told me he had sold his duck logo (a piece of artwork on a business card) for $3,500. I could tell the art was inexpensive "clip art," so I disbelieved him and never again fully trusted what he said.
- Add struggle.
This may seem to contradict the advice just given, but it doesn't.
I've seen too many resumes full of bulleted-accomplishments that
lack impact because they lack "struggle." They sound too easy.
"Reduced operating costs 4%," is finebut sounds as if it could've been
achieved with one phone call to a vendor.
Therefore, it sounds weakor if not weak, it doesn't sound nearly as strong
as it could if "struggle" were added.
Whenever possible, add the agony of the process. Show
the dragons you slayed, describe the 14,000-foot mountains you climbed without oxygen,
and mention the bushels of broken glass you tiptoed across to complete your task.
Don't exaggerate, but don't minimize, either.
Let's reword the above accomplishment, adding struggle:
"In midst of strong, ongoing opposition from consultants and peers on senior
management team, reduced vendors from six (6) to three (3),
negotiated sharply discounted raw materials prices,
and cut operating costs 4%, a savings of $228,000 per month."
This is much more powerful. It sounds as though some work went into it,
as though there were obstacles along the path. If there were obstacles
in the path of your accomplishmentand there always aretell the reader what they were.
After you've drafted your "triples" and "home runs," read them from the viewpoint of
struggle. If they sound too easylike you could've completed them on your cell
phone by the poolgo back to the drawing board. You're not finished yet.
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