Everyone wants their resume to “stand out” and catch the eye of potential employers, but how exactly is that accomplished? Some career experts speculate that using “power” words or an “active” voice when describing your responsibilities is the ticket to success, but is that the truth? Read on to learn more.
To truly understand how to make your resume stand out, first you have to put yourself in an employer’s shoes. Ask yourself what you would look for when reviewing a potential employee’s resume. Would you be impressed by a fancy font? A picture? Over-inflated job responsibilities? In short, no! Without question, the most effective way to set yourself apart from other candidates is to highlight your achievements. “But Drew,” you say, “I do not have any achievements, what do I do?” Simply put, there is a significant chance that you do have achievements, you just do not realize it.
Most people believe that only sales-related jobs have achievements. This is simply not true. Sure, sales professionals can mention quotas and specific revenue numbers, but all professions have the potential for unique accomplishments. For instance, if you are in IT you can mention how you reduced equipment downtime and negotiated cost-effective agreements with vendors. If you are in construction, mention the value of each project you have led and how you completed all assignments ahead of schedule. If you are in marketing, mention how much you improved market penetration or expanded into new demographics. Get the point? Every career that exists can present you with opportunities to go above and beyond expectations – it just might take some clever brainstorming to uncover and portray your achievements properly. Compare the following statements:
Good: Responsible for all facets of marketing and sales for the Southwest region.
Better: Directed all aspects of marketing and sales for the Southwest region to ensure maximum profitability.
Best: Improved sales by 33% by conceptualizing and implementing a strategic marketing plan which improved market penetration in the Southwest region.
Which statement sounds best to you? The “Best” one, right? Although all three statements convey responsibility for marketing and sales, only one of them helps demonstrate your expertise and success to potential employers. Do yourself a favor and brainstorm a bit about your career. Figure out what you have done that has improved processes, reduced costs, increased efficiency, or helped your employer in some way. Unique achievements are, without a doubt, the BEST way to impress employers and “stand out” from your competition.
By Drew Roark