Friday, April 2, 2010

Resume construction part 2

Mike will finish his discussion of resume development soon, but in the meantime, one of the regulars at Notes from the Job Search sent me an analysis of how to create an entry or bullet point on your resume and I wanted to share it with you.

She starts with the idea that in the custom resume you deliver to a prospective employer, each role you held should have no more than five bullets. That is different than our Work-Life Database™.  The Work-Life Database™ is the source document  and as such it doesn’t have a limit.  What goes on the resume sent to a some company, comes from the DB. At any rate, here’s what Deborah Arline has to say.

“The first paragraph of a job experience within the resume starts with a statement describing the scope of duties, level of responsibility, number of staff supervised, budget amounts managed, etc. This statement is followed by short sentences describing responsibilities, using words like “Managed”, “Led”, “Facilitated”, “Oversaw”, “Initiated”, “Planned”, “Provided”, “Performed”, “Created”, “Analyzed”, “Designed”, “Developed”, “Achieved”, etc.

“This paragraph is followed by “Significant Achievements”, no more than 5 bulleted items that:
   • Identify an Action, USE A VERB, that demonstrates the value I added or contribution I made; i.e. “Saved money”, “Increased profits”, “Developed staff”, “Decreased response time”, etc
   • Then, the sentence continues to show how I achieved them: “…by deploying”, “…by initiating”, “…by upgrading”, “…by migrating”, “…by implementing”, etc.
   • And may conclude by showing the result of my efforts: “…that enhanced”, “… that improved”, “…that reduced”, “…that decreased”.
   • Then try to quantify the value added; answer the question “By how much?”

Deborah provides a couple of examples:
1. “Delivered $1.2 million annual savings by cutting call handling time 40 seconds per call across all centers.
2. “Improved operational efficiency by designing continuous learning process that provided call centers with structured approach to process improvement and data sharing.”

As you can see Deborah has broken this down to very specific small pieces. When she creates the actual bullet, she positions the element with the biggest value ("$1.2 million annual savings") where it will be seen most easily and have the most impact. It’s almost like we had a bunch of refrigerator magnets, only in this case we are using them to effectively tell real stories and actions we really took.

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