By B McKown – OIGP USA
What’s in it for them?” Your resume has to answer that question. If it doesn’t, you most likely will never get to present yourself to that awesome company where you envisioned working forever.
Let me be blunt: Too often, job seekers think that the interview process is about them. It’s not. The interview is about highlighting your skills, abilities, knowledge and experience in a way that demonstrates how you are going to help the company be successful.
That starts with your resume preparation. You have to dive deep into your experience and really think about the types of work you have done, how that work has impacted the organization, how you have added value, and then translate those achievements into action statements.
Over the last 40 years, I have been advising job seekers from CEOs to machine operators. As I ask them questions about what they have done, it still amazes me the incredible accomplishments people have made. The problem is they have trouble getting it out of their head and onto the paper. You must be thoughtful and persistent as you search for the most effective way to tell your story.
Below are two different ways to illustrate the same point:
Supervise IT department.
Oversee the daily operations of IT systems, including networks, the application development process, hardware/software support, IP-based phone systems, end user training and all IT-related processes.
See the difference? People often unintentionally shortchange themselves.
While many companies have very altruistic values and principles—as well they should—I learned early on in life that if my expenditures are greater than my income, I am in trouble. Profit is not a dirty word. It is how both Wall Street and Main Street gauge their success, and ultimately what allows organizations to grow and prosper. Even the best ‘non-profit’ organizations have to “make money” to survive. Therefore, you have to communicate on your resume how you helped your organization profit.
Make the most of the numbers!
Your achievement statements need to illustrate your ability to deliver results. The best predictor of future success is past achievements.
Use dollar ($) and percent (%) signs – numerical values.
Think about profits, savings, revenue, sales, improvements and costs.
Did anything you do contribute to increasing or reducing any of the above? Hopefully you increased profits.
How did the way you performed your job impact the company and add value?
Consider statements like this: I worked at a manufacturing company and the shipping department team of all hourly personnel identified a problem, developed the idea into a viable process and presented their recommendation and solution to management that resulted in cost savings of $1 million per year. – That’s value!
Sample Quantitative Achievement Statements:
Increased regional sales 21% within the first two months by using industry knowledge and process techniques to improve quality at region’s second largest customer.
Managed daily purchase orders and deliveries during a corporate-wide SAP software conversion, and maintained a delivery status above 95% during the conversion.
Reduced underwriting evaluation time by 20%, eliminated schedule delays, and doubled capability through reorganization and introduction of methods and systems, which resulted in a $150,000 annual savings.
As you write these statements, ask yourself:
1. What did I do, and what challenges did I face?
2. How did I handle it, or what actions did I take?
3. What were the results of my actions?
Taking time to develop solid achievement statements that amplify the numbers will hopefully increase your bottom line earnings as well.