Saturday, June 11, 2011

Does your resume project you as an achiever?

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In today’s competitive scenario - it is achievements that distinguish one candidate from the next. Here are 3 tips on how to effectively turn your resume around - to project you as an achiever.

 In today’s competitive market, where qualifications and work experience of a candidate are often on par, it is achievements that make a candidate stand out from the rest. The importance of packaging your resume right –to project yourself as a result oriented candidate – therefore cannot be underestimated. Here are three quick ways to turn your resume from that of a normal candidate to one who is achievement oriented.

Convert work responsibilities to achievements: One of the smartest ways to do this is to make use of power verbs, even when you talk of work responsibilities, thus converting them into achievements. What I mean by power words and how these make a difference is demonstrated below:

Before : Responsible for sales in North region.
After: Spearheaded sales of entire North region.
See how changing the word “responsible for” to an action verb “spearheaded” makes so much difference to the image conveyed. If a resume only details responsibilities, it is merely telling the recruiter what you were supposed to do – and not what you actually did.

Make sure your daily responsibilities are delineated with powerful action words as: led, initiated, spearheaded, controlled, accelerated, attained, conceptualized, conducted, devised, directed, drafted, executed, enhanced, established, ensured etc.

These words effectively portray you as a person in action, thus leaving a positive impact. When you talk about how your work achieved something rather than was just something you handled, you project yourself as a candidate who takes initiative and responsibility at work, rather than one who simply does what has to be done

Delineate how well you discharged responsibilities
It is important for you to give the recruiter a sense of how well you handled your job. To do this – again you need to use more than just ‘responsible for’ as delineated in the example below:

Before: Responsible for MIS interface in the company
After: Interfaced with MIS to develop technology enhancements to facilitate new markets and better serve existing client base.

In the first there is no clarity in the recruiter's mind as to how effectively you handled the responsibility. In the second the use of the word “interface” shows you as an action-oriented candidate. The addition of what you achieved by this interface shows the contributions you have made - and therefore in the recruiter’s mind the contributions you can be expected to make in the future.

Though we are pretty quick at putting together a basic resume with contact details, an objective, a synopsis, work experience, extra-curricular and other information. Where we most often get stuck is at the point where we need to talk about actual contributions we made.

Yet the key element of a powerful resume is the 'evidence' that you will live up to your value proposition – and this evidence lies in the vital stats, that is, quantifiable facts and figures or results obtained, that substantiate your earlier words as an achiever and a doer.

How to quantify your achievements
Whether you are in HR, editorial, technical, administration or marketing, you can always quantify results if you put thought to it. Here are some questions to help you look at your achievements - keeping numbers in mind.
 • Did you save costs for the company? How and how much?
• Did you increase sales? How much?
• Did you recruit new hires? How many? How soon?
• Did you launch a new product? What was the reach and impact?
• Did you run campaigns? How many, which places and medium?
• Did you help improve productivity and efficiency? By what percentage?
• Did you put in place new systems or processes? What was the impact?
• Were you able to achieve more with (same or fewer) resources?
• Did you give inputs for any technical/operational improvements?
• Did you manage faster turnaround time on any project/delivery?
 • Did you resolve any pending issues? How soon?
 • Did you undertake or get selected for any training program/workshop or conference?
• Are you a member of any committee/board/special projects?

 Action words project you as a candidate who takes initiative and responsibility at work, rather than one who simply does what has to be done. Use these questions to figure out your contributions to the company – then portray these contributions effectively through use of action words. This will help you prepare an achievement oriented resume

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