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The 5 Biggest Job Search Mistakes – #4: Resumes that Lack Achievements

resume achievements

We speak with thousands of job seekers every year from almost every country, industry, job function, and seniority.

The bad news is that there are a lot of places people are stumbling in their search. The good news is that many of their job-search woes can be diagnosed and fixed. That’s why we created an on-demand class geared towards helping people overcome the 5 biggest job search mistakes (available here).

Our 4th entry into the list of common job search mistakes (not in order) is a weak resume. What in particular makes a weak resume? One that lists job duties and claims instead of achievements and cold-hard facts.

Listing Job Duties

There are plenty of people out there still writing a resume by listing out what their day-to-day duties and responsibilities are. “Oversaw budget”, “Led multiple teams”, “Analyzed customer acquisition strategy.” Bullet points like these leave the reader wanting more because it shows the actions and not the results. When you apply for a job, keep in mind that there is a pool of applicants who have very similar duties and responsibilities. So by writing a resume that details what an average day looks like, you are selling yourself short. That’s where achievements come in.

Showing Achievements on Your Resume

Actions speak louder than words. And on a resume, achievements speak louder than actions. This is why you should entice your reader by showing your quantified results and achievements ahead of the action. For example, you can say you “Increased new-customer acquisition by 15% by applying new prospecting methods.” Remember – you are more than a list of job duties, you are a professional who creates value for their employer and clients.

Claims Vs. Facts

“I am a hard-working, results-driven professional…” begins 95% of resumes ever written. Almost everyone has these buzzwords in an executive summary or under their strengths/proficiencies. Well, when you write that on your resume, you look just like everyone else. So rather than making claims about how you are results driven, start demonstrating through your achievements. Don’t state that you: “Have a proven track record of growing sales” in your executive summary. State that you: “Have increased sales by 10% year over year” for your employer.

We advise that you remove buzzwords altogether. They don’t help your resume, and they take up resume real estate. Instead, use your executive summary to talk about the value you create for potential employers, and bring in some of your biggest achievements to get the point across. So go ahead and start by saying that you “Championed $100MM in sales for a fortune 500 company.” That’s going to catch the reader’s attention!

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