I am writing this article as nearly 90% of all resumes I see (the "before" resumes prior to me rewriting them) do not contain any Key Achievements. As standard practice, clients are asked to complete our in-house questionnaire in addition to forwarding us their documents (such as current resume, letter of application and/or position description for selection criteria).
Upon receiving this completed questionnaire, all I get are very long winded general statements of duties and responsibilities for each position even though the questionnaire repeatedly asks for key achievements, and explains what they are.
Resumes are very similar to selection criteria in that they must include statements backed up by evidence. Here is an example:
Wrong way: "Improved sales through various initiatives". What does this mean exactly? This is a very general statement and is absolutely meaningless.
Right way: "Increased sales by 30% over a one month period by ensuring reduced stock was brought onto the shop floor (rather than left in the warehouse) and placed in a prominent place."
Do you see the difference? This is a real life example, of information provided to me by a retail assistant client. If you donít know the exact figures, take a rough guess. By how much do you think you improved productivity by? Over how long a period? What did you do exactly? Did you reduce backlogs, solve a problem, or increase efficiency? Although these statements require thinking. These well written, evidence based answers are well appreciated by a resume writer, as well as potential employers.
General statements, without back up, figures, or time periods mean nothing, and will not win you any favours. Donít make it hard for the reader. What you want to do is to make it as easy as possible for the reader to get an idea of your achievements. Exact, meaningful achievements.
If you provide achievements, as stated above (the right way not wrong way!) your employer will think: "Wow! If Joe Bloggs can do that for XYZ corporation, they can do that for me too!" Also, due to the fact that only approximately 10% of all resumes contain achievements within them, think of the edge you are going to have on all of your fellow applicants!