Whether you are applying for your first job or hopping to a new one, it is important to prepare before the interview and make an impression. How else can you do this even before you answer the first question in a face-to-face interview? Write an effective and impressive resume.
A good resume has to include certain qualities to make it worth reading and stand out from the rest of the pack. It should be professionally-written and with a unique tone to make it effective and noticeable. There should be a featured keyword section which provides a summary of your expertise. It should also include an objective and be written with no typographical and grammatical errors. Most importantly, there should be accomplishment statements that will compel the interviewer to read on. It should be noted that the most critical part of your resume is your accomplishment or action statements section.
Accomplishment statements are bulleted statements that describe what you have accomplished with regard to your profession and more importantly, the nature of the job you are applying for. These are what you have contributed to your previous employers in terms of your performance and how these helped the company or the department you were assigned to. If you are just starting out in your career and this is your first job application, you can include volunteer jobs or trainings. Some candidates write their own resumes while others let professional writers to do it for them. There is nothing wrong with having to pay someone to come up with a professionally written resume for you but it is always better to do it yourself. In the first place, no one knows about you better than yourself. Still not convinced? Here are some tips to help you get started and create concise and correct accomplishment statements for your resume:
1. Write Down Your Accomplishments.
By this time, you already have an old resume you have prepared that needs to be updated and revised. List down your previous jobs, from the most recent down to the first job you had. It would be best to do this in sections to give you ample space to write down your list of accomplishments. Recall your employment history and list all your contributions to these companies regardless of how small or big they are. You will have plenty of time to edit and finalize them.
a. Ask yourself certain questions to jog up your memory.
Where you promoted in your last job? Were you ever given a recognition award for excellent performance? Were you able to solve a lingering issue related to the business or perhaps, increased sales because of what you did or suggestions you have made? These are just some of the questions you can answer to narrow down your list.
b. Choose at least three accomplishments in each position or job.
Perhaps you will come up with a ton of accomplishments but you need not include all. Simply decide on the best accomplishments and choose at least your top three.
2. Highlight Three Areas.
Work comes with challenges and if you were able to get through them, you can start from there. Think of a situation where you were faced with a challenge. If you were in customer service, was there a time when an irate customer aired a concern and you were able to calm the customer down and even went the extra mile to address the issue? If you did and this was able to up the sales, you are on track.
When you were in that situation, what skills and abilities did you apply to resolve the issue? It is important to use action verbs like “Advised”, “Directed”, “Demonstrated”, ‘Delegated” and the like and not your responsibilities. Moreover, be specific and include figures or numbers.
After you have taken action, what was the result of what you did? If you have a difficult time to analyze or recall what was the positive result, think of the opposite. Imagine if you were not able to handle the problem. What would have been the outcome? If you have the negative result, simply change it to a positive one. Some of the clear and concise result samples are “increased sales”, “satisfied customer”, “increased revenue”, “reduced waiting time” and the like.
3. Transform These Accomplishments Into Short Statements And Use This Formula.
Action + Problem + Positive Result = Accomplishment Statement
Corrected + erroneous statement of account + which calmed down the irate customer and convinced the customer to upgrade data plan.
- Organized fundraising events for local shelters resulting to an increase in funds for the installation of temporary electricity and additional shelters.
- Delegated more security personnel during the event, thus prevented unauthorized people from climbing over the fence.
- Coordinated with 100 people for a community event resulting to additional $5,000 for the rehabilitation of the public library destroyed by the storm.
- Headed a group of volunteers in preparing and serving meals to homeless people at the local community shelter resulting to increased manpower and service by 25%.
- Trained more than 20 newly hired employees over a three-month period resulting to increased sales/revenues.
4. Choose Accomplishment Statements Relevant To The Job Applying For.
By following the first three steps, you should have come up with a list of all your accomplishments. However, resumes need not be long. To ensure the interviewer will not be bored and will focus on the highlights, try to include accomplishments that are related to your prospective position and will convince the Human Resource personnel to enlist you for a second interview.
Accomplishment Statement Contents Made Simple
- Action verbs that will describe your contribution rather than your responsibilities.
- Scope of activities, including but not limited to the size of budget managed, number of employees affected or percentage of increase in sales.
- Positive result of the action you have taken along with measurements like amount of money or specific knowledge and skills gained.
- Use bulleted points instead of paragraphs since they are much easier to read.
- Only use indentations when appropriate to emphasize points in your accomplishment statements.