Accomplishment Clarity

Recently while providing feedback to job seekers about their resumes at a local job search preparation event, I was surprised by the overall quality of information delivered by many of those in attendance.  It seemed that many candidates I spoke with were trying, often successfully, to convey not just what they did on their jobs, but how they did what they did.  Telling prospective employers and hiring managers how you did things through the effective use of action verbs is one of the best ways to deliver your accomplishment statements.
But the hardest part of creating effective accomplishment statements is to develop a consistent form that is clear, concise, assertive, and most importantly, relevant. You can tell an employer all about your wonderful skills and experience, but if the information you provide is not relevant to the position they are trying to fill, you will not be considered for that job.
Once upon a time, employers would review a resume, like what they saw and bring the candidate in for an interview.  In assessing the applicant’s credentials, the hiring manager or interviewer could take the time to suggest where the aspirant’s strengths would be of best use.  Today, if you don’t clearly address your ability to fulfill the needs of the employer and that particular opening, you will not get the opportunity to explain where you think you fit in!  And the HR rep won’t take the time for that assessment either!
Your accomplishment statements work their strongest magic when they are focused and presented in a consistent format.  Start by removing phrases that begin with “I did …” or “My responsibilities included …”, and instead begin each statement with a past tense action verb that succinctly define the actions you took to accomplish your job.
Some examples include:
Accelerated         Assembled        Assisted          Balanced
Booked               Called                Coded             Completed
Created               Designed           Distilled          Entered
Generated          Installed            Instigated       Invested
Leveraged          Licensed            Liquidated       Located
Maintained        Managed           Manipulated    Maximized
Modeled             Moderated         Navigated        Operated
Organized          Scaled                Sold                Supported
Trained              Translated         Treated             Wrote
You get the idea?
Try to keep your descriptions short and succinct. When you create lengthy sentences providing a lot of detail, in trying to keep your resume to one or two pages you are forced to present your accomplishment statements in paragraph form rather than as individual bullet points that stand out on their own.  Paragraph-like descriptions make it harder for the reader (HR person) to spot the buzzwords or keyword phrases that they are looking for.
There’s no question that distilling your work life down to a few salient, relevant key points is a difficult process.  The longer you’ve been working, the harder it gets to decide what to leave in and what to take out of your resume.  But when your accomplishment statements are clear and concise, the employers you are targeting have a better chance of finding the relevancy of your qualifications, calling you in for an interview, and hopefully hiring you!  That is what it’s all about, right?
And congratulations to the Saints for a well earned victory over the Colts in the Super Bowl.
And for more tips and information that can help you in your job search or your career, please visit: