Writing Your Work History – Part II
It’s okay to keep throwing away your resume and starting over — that’s what makes it better.
Your resume gets better the more you re-write it — so starting over is a good thing.
Excerpt from the last lesson:
Job descriptions are statements like:
• “review expense report and approve as appropriate”
• “monitor accounts receivables”
• “responsible for payroll”
• “responsible for meeting minutes”
The key to writing powerful achievement statement is to:
• Put action words, or verbs near the beginning of the statement
• Write what you did to achieve results
• Use proven and measurable results by listing the value of those results
• When quantifying your statements, use your exact figures
• Avoid whole numbers like 100 because they are not as believable
• Instead of writing, “exceeded sales by over 100%”, just be specific with what you did, “exceeded sales by 134%” (Be sure to use accurate figures)
Let’s take a look at how to put the AR Formula into action.
Achievement Statement Examples by Job Type
A Sales Manager for a technology company might write:
• Managed a six-person sales team that increased software sales from $11million to $43million over a 14 month period.
• Received 5 Sales Excellence awards for consistently exceeding quarterly sales quotas by 52% and driving gross product revenue to an all time high over the past three years.
A Brand Manager might write:
• Developed and launched Alouette Spinach Artichoke Spreadable Cheese in 2000. This flavor became the fastest growing flavor in the premium spreadable cheese category.
A Regional Sales Directory might write:
• Developed Respiratory Sales Force by expanding team from 6 to 10 Direct Managers and from 70 to 112 Sales Representatives in the Eastern Region and attained #1 regional ranking in nation for 2008 through June YTD.
A General Manager for a car dealership might write:
• Established and maintained exceptional growth in Porsche units sold from the mid 60’s to over 100 units in the first year, while increasing front end gross to $6,800 per unit.
• Exceeded previous year’s sales while managing a major remodel and saved the Dealership Group approximately 30%.
• Increased Audi market penetration through Internet Marketing from 3% to 6% in first year while increasing front end gross to $2,600 per unit.
A Corporate Vice President might write:
• Maintained a 52% increase in gross revenue each quarter, through targeting customer base expansions and developing new service lines.
• Increased customer satisfaction 85% by continuing a 20% growth in monthly revenues.
General Achievement Statement Examples
• Increased line capacity 29% by leading a cross-functional team to improve the manufacturing of telescopic hydraulic cylinders.
• Developed and implemented cost controls which where tested by Deloitte and placed us in compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley requirements.
• Managed and monitored service delivery for multiple on-line, web-based, learning industry products, resulting in $2.5M in sales over a 10 month period.
• Created and streamlined project documentation, resulting in a 33% reduction in end user training.
• Provided Microsoft SQL deployment strategies to Exxon Mobil that aided in decreasing the typical deployment time 54% of their new CRM software.
• Managed a successful transition of the Sterno Retail business from Blyth HomeScents International to The Sterno Group with no interruption to customer orders/shipments.
• Developed and implemented internal controls to fulfill Sarbanes-Oxley 404 compliance.
• Provide direct support to Managing Director in the implementation of policies and procedures while maintaining absolute confidentiality.
Achievement Statement Tips
I strongly suggest writing achievement statements for every one of your accomplishments, no matter how small, menial or insignificant it may be – just write it, even if you have no plans of putting it on your resume.
Doing so is a great exercise in writing power achievement statements, and will give you the practice you need to transform your past accomplishments into powerful achievement statements that pack a strong punch. And who knows, you may find that one of your most insignificant or menial achievements sounds really good on paper and decide to keep it.
I would suggest writing between 10 and 15 achievement statements for each of your jobs. Doing so will give you several to choose from and a good idea of what should keep and what you don’t need.
Remember, you are writing these achievement statements with your target job objective in mind. Your focus should be on keeping and using the statements that are relevant to your job objective.
Always list your best achievement first. As you write your achievement statements, keep in mind that you only want to keep and use the best of the best, and put aside the rest.
As you list your achievements under each employer, I would suggest using fewer statements for each job as they get older. For example, for your most recent job, you might have 5-7 achievement statements, then for your next oldest job, you may have 4-5 statements, and then 3-4, and so on down the line.
For some jobs you’ve held, say 12 – 15 years ago or more, it’s completely acceptable not to list any achievements and just show the company name, your position, and your employment dates. This is a great way to minimize valuable resume space to show off your lengthy work history in a single line.
I recommend this strategy when your experience from older jobs is not as relevant to your job objective. It’s a great way to show any potential employer you have been working for many, many years, but it will also signal your age to a potential employer. See Age Discrimination later in this section.
If you feel that you don’t have any major achievements to write about, then by all means, write down what you did, but also mention who benefited from your work and how.
Whew! That’s a wrap for today, but I still have a lot more on to share with you on writing your work history.