A strong resume places an emphasis on the achievements of the person over the day-to-day duties performed. The idea is to stress that you make a difference rather than just collect a paycheck.
The best achievements are those that are quantifiable, that is, those that are attached to an objective number. This is probably best seen in sales positions where a person can state their sales total, % increase, or % over quota. Also, those with budgetary responsibilities can list their ability to beat budget totals. There are, however, many positions that do not have obvious or available quantifiable statistics. This may be because the position does not naturally lead to numbers, or the company has not placed a metric (at least not yet) to what you are doing.
Below are some ideas that a Job Seeker can use in an attempt to list impactful achievements.
• Were you recognized/honored? If your company has an Employee of the Month/Year then state your recognition. Did you ever win any type of reward for your work on a project?Think of any time that you were separated from your peers and honored. These occasions may be worthy of your resume. If you are a non-exempt (hourly) associate, you may consider achievements such as Perfect Attendance or even Service Recognition.
• Do you train others? Are you a recognized trainer in your department/company? Either formal or “on the job” training may constitute something important to list on your resume. For example, this may be due to your Microsoft knowledge or for an area in Safety, anything that recognized your expertise and your ability to impart it to others.
• Serve on any committees? Most companies have committees that serve as either a feedback mechanism or a decision-maker. If you have participated in any groups such as a Safety, Handbook, or Charitable Committee, then consider listing your participation. Especially if meaningful change or accomplishments resulted from the work of the group. Serving on a committee is a sign you were regarded highly for your opinion and your ability to convey your thoughts. It is also a sign that you were engaged and committed to this employer.
• If you have participated on any special projects, then this should be considered for addition. Similar to being on a committee this is an indication of how you were perceived by your employer. Special consideration should be placed by you if you served as a project leader.
• Emphasize your promotions. Prospective employers like to see a person who has been able to work their way up in an organization. The thought is that this person must be highly regarded in order to gain the promotion(s).
• Stress your volunteerism within the organization. If you volunteered for new projects and additional assignments, then consider stating that within your documents. It will show the prospective employer that you want to improve performance and are willing to work to obtain that success.
You will probably find yourself amazed by how much you achieved but really did not think about it in this way before. Examine old performance appraisals for ideas. Speak to co-workers, friends, and family for examples of achievements by you that can be added.
During this self-review of your work history, you may also discover that you actually have more that is quantifiable than you originally thought. If you work in a production setting, then you may have units per hour, or accuracy numbers. If you work in an office, you may have words per minute to quantify towards an achievement. Many companies that deal with customers track productivity, whether its calls per hour, customers processed per hour, or how long the exchange takes. Start thinking about your performance meetings with your supervisor and what has been discussed; it is pretty likely that there were some quantifiable numbers exchanged.
A resume and cover letter are designed to help you sell yourself to the prospective employer. The idea is to present you in a positive light so that the company will want to pursue you during their selection process. The stating of achievements will help you present yourself in that positive light. It always helps to be able to place a number to an achievement to grab the attention of your audience. If that is not achievable, then list relevant non-quantifiable achievements that will separate you from the competition.
As always, best of luck in your job search.
The following has been prepared for the general information of RochesterJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
WNY Human Resources Professional
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