In a previous post, I wrote about how to get your resume found in an applicant tracking system (ATS). Once your resume is selected, it will be “physically” read by the hiring management team who will decide if they want to interview you for the position you’ve applied for. If you want your resume to stand out from other candidates, it has to showcase much more than a mere laundry list of qualifying skills.
Hiring managers want to employ people who can quickly contribute to their company’s growth and deliver a solid return-on-investment (ROI) in exchange for salary and benefits. In spirit of the exclamation shouted by the character Rod Tidwell (played by actor Cuba Gooding Jr.) in the movie Jerry McGuire, “Show me [them] the money!”
The best way to showcase your ROI is to include 3 to 5 accomplishment statements under each job listing on your resume. These accomplishments must appeal to employers’ top 10 buying (hiring) motivators, as outlined in the book Resume Magicby Susan Whitcomb. Specifically, hiring managers want candidates who can help their company:
- Make money
- Save money
- Save time
- Make work easier
- Solve a specific problem
- Be more competitive
- Build relationships
- Expand business
- Attract new customers
- Retain existing customers
Accomplishment bullets will vary, depending on your profession and industry. Here are three examples where each candidate explains their value in tangible metrics that speak to one or more of the top 10 motivators listed above:
1) Sales representative: Increased $1-million territory by 25% ($250,000) in 6 months by reactivating 50 dormant accounts.
2) Restaurant manager: Cut annual food costs (target 31.5%/actual: 30.1%) on $3.8 million in food sales and labor costs (target: 15.5%/actual: 13.9%) on $5+ million in overall sales.
3) General manager: Managed workflow during $100-million revenue growth period, without hiring additional staff.
Use the “Context-Challenge-Action-Results” (C-C-A-R) model to write accomplishment statements:
- Context: (“While working at…”)
- Challenge (“I was given the responsibility to…”)
- Action (“So I…”)
- Result (“As a result of my efforts…”)
Here’s how the sales representative listed above used the C-C-A-R model to create her accomplishment statement:
* Context: “While working at ACME Products…”
* Challenge: “I was given the responsibility to increase sales in my region, because sales had been flat for three years.”
* Action: “So I contacted all accounts in my region. I learned that many were ordering from a competitor offering a cheaper product, but they weren’t happy with the service and delivery. So, I offered each account a 3-year service agreement with all new orders, which reignited their interest in ordering from ACME.”
* Result: “As a result of my efforts, I increased my $1-million territory by 25% ($250,000) in 6 months, by reactivating 50 dormant accounts.”
In case you don’t have tangible metrics for accomplishments, think of them as before and after scenarios. First, describe what your challenge was like when you took it on; then illustrate how your contribution made a positive impact on your employer.
A resume’s primary function is to get you an interview. Having significant, accomplishment-related bullets on your resume will only increase the chances of hiring managers calling you, instead of other applicants.
© Joellyn Wittenstein Schwerdlin, The Career Success Coach 2013