We've talked previously about how your career is your most valuable financial asset, offering you many financial benefits. You can make the most of it by getting a college degree and managing your career to its full potential. Doing this well can earn you millions of dollars in extra income throughout your lifetime. Part of managing your career means that you'll need to change jobs from time-to-time -- and to do this, you need a great resume.
But many people leave out what I consider the key to a great resume: quantifiable proof of accomplishments. In other words, what have you accomplished and to what (numerically substantiated) extent? For instance, here are a few examples of resume listings that work and don't work from my perspective:
- Doesn't work: Helped company save money.
- Works: Led cost-cutting task force that saved company $475,000 in three months.
- Doesn't work: Responsible for good sales growth results.
- Works: Spearheaded sales team that achieved 11% annual sales growth for five consecutive years.
- Doesn't work: Implemented new marketing program that led to increased consumer response.
- Works: Developed innovative marketing initiative that delivered 23% increase in customer retention versus previous program.
You see? The suggestions that "work" have quantifiable accomplishments (not to mention more proactive language.) Each "works" option says the same thing as the "doesn't work" option -- but it gives more detail (and takes more credit) regarding the results. Which person would you rather hire? I think the answer is clear.
I was reminded how important it is to when I found this piece on Career Journal. Their experience is similar to mine:
The way to sell yourself in a resume is to cite strengths and abilities that companies need from someone in the job you want and support them with your accomplishments.
"People want to know what you can do for them, and the way they can judge that is by what you have done for others," says Mr. Weitzman. "Basically, your resume must answer the employer's question, 'What can you do for me?'"
For each job you've held, tell readers what improvements you made for your employers.
The only thing I would add is this: the more specific you can be, the better off you'll be. Give them facts that show what you can do, and they'll beat a path to your door.
Of course this assumes that you actually do have accomplishments that will blow their socks off. If you don't, you need to get to work in your current position to get some "wins" under your belt so when you do look for a new position, you'll have plenty of examples to draw from as you write a winning resume.