Don’t Make These Resume Mistakes!

Don’t Make These Resume Mistakes!

This week’s podcast is titled “The Biggest Resume Mistakes.” In today’s blog, I want to drill down on your job descriptions.

Of course, I am a huge advocate of utilizing the services of a certified resume writer.

For the purposes of this article, however, let’s talk about what YOU can do to immensely improve your resume.

Here are my “rules” about the “Professional Experience” section of your resume:

Rule #1: your job duties (what you were hired to do on a regular basis) should be separate from your accomplishments (your results). Otherwise, your accomplishments don’t jump out at the reader and their impact is diluted.

Rule #2: Your job duties should be in paragraph format (3-4 lines max), and your accomplishments should be bulleted (4-5 max).

Rule #3: Your paragraph should convey the scope of your work, which can include who you reported to, how many people you directly/indirectly managed, the size of the budget you managed. (This applies to mid- through upper-level professionals.)

Rule #4: Each of your bulleted accomplishments should begin with an action verb (be careful not to use the same verb repeatedly).

Rule #5: Your accomplishments should include metrics, such as $$ or time saved, % of decrease, number of people.

Often times, a job duty can become an accomplishment by adding metrics. Here’s an example:

Job duty: Conducted new-hire orientation.

Accomplishment: Conducted an average of 12 hours of new-hire training each month for a total of 48 employees, with an average satisfaction rating of 4.6/5.0.

Job duty: Expanded accounts within territory.

Accomplishment: Drove 47% increase in active accounts, which added $2.3M in top-line revenue.

I see my clients struggling with the difference between job duties and accomplishments. Here’s my acid test:

Is it about a specific event (accomplishment) or an on-going activity (job duty)?

If you coordinate your company’s trade shows, then coordinating those trade shows is part of your job duties. It’s what you were hired to do.

If you tell me that you achieved a 11.2% increase in attendance at a specific trade show, with $2.1M in revenue directly attributed to that trade show, then we have an accomplishment.

A final word: your accomplishments are what separate you from your competition. Your job duties are important for the reader to know (and are helpful for SEO purposes), but your accomplishments tell the reader how well you have performed in your career.

Pull your resume out and review your “Professional Experience” section to see if it follows these rules. If not, give it a stab!

Would you like a professional review of your resume from a Master Resume Writer (I’m one of fewer than 25 in the world)? Schedule a 15-minute call with me by clicking here to discuss. The cost is $75 and can be applied towards the purchase of any resume package.

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Don't miss a moment of Lesa Edwards' Exclusive Career Coaching podcasts. This weekly podcast covers all things career management including job search strategies, interviewing tips, networking tools, maximizing LinkedIn, salary negotiations, and managing your mindset around your career.