If you’re reading this, then I’m willing to wager that you have a résumé. Yet I’m also willing to wager that you’re making a critical mistake on this critical document. In short, I suspect that some of your bullet points cite activities rather than achievements.
That’s understandable. Achievements are tough to articulate, let alone accomplish. Yet if you want your résumé to stand out, then you absolutely need them. Specifically, you need to transform your day-to-day responsibilities into distinctive results.
Résumés should show off your skills, not shotgun them.
In writing a résumé, many people include a “skills” section. Here, they cram together “hard” skills, such as programming languages or software, and “soft” skills, such as “conflict resolution” or “adaptability.”
Let me be frank: This is a waste of space. Instead of ticking off vague notions like “Excel” or “Photoshop,” tell your audience how you used these programs. Get specific.
It took a recession, but résumés finally are receiving renewed scrutiny. The ability to embellish and obscure shrinks when one out of every six workers is under or unemployed. More than ever, recruiters want to see accomplishments, not responsibilities; numbers, not adverbs.
Certain professions have it easier than others. If you’re a lobbyist, you cite legislation passed or defeated. If you’re a fundraiser, you count dollars raised. If you’re a political operative, you record a win-loss record.
Alas, if you’re a social media consultant, you probably shun such metrics. Sure, you’ve helped clients tweet and blog, but who among us hasn’t? Sure, you have 10 years of experience, but what have you achieved?