Did I ever tell you about the time I rescued 20 puppies from a burning building?
I didn’t, because it never happened. But didn’t that question create a vivid image in your head? Were you eager to hear more?
That single line captured your interest because it told the story of an achievement that anyone can understand at a single glance. And that is precisely what your resume needs to do, and where many resumes fall short.
True, most of the things you accomplish during your career are less dramatic than running into a burning building. But no matter what you do, don’t make the mistake of writing a resume that is a list of responsibilities and on-the-job tasks. If you do, the picture you are painting is of yet another employee sitting in front of a computer as you “Created monthly and annual P&L reports in Excel.”
The biggest resume mistake even experienced employees make is making that list. “People over emphasize responsibilities instead of describing achievements,” says Nii Ato Bentsi-Enchill, Manager of Resume and Coaching Services at Ivy Exec. But your responsibilities “don’t show your overall value or impact within your organization or for your clients.”
If your resume falls into that trap, the good news is that it can be fixed. Examine the bullet points on your resume and see how you can flip them to emphasize your achievements. For example, did you “Manage a sales team of 10” or did you “Increase territory sales 100% by aligning the strengths of the sales team?”
Replacing your list of tasks with quantified achievements can turn an ordinary resume into a high-impact story of your accomplishments.