The Resume is no Place for Your Job Duties!

Welcome to Part 2 of the Job Seeker Confidence series! We’re talking about 5 common resume mistakes, and I’ll teach you how to avoid them. There is so much valuable detail in each of these 5 topics, that I’ve decided to break them up into 5 parts.

Today’s article will tackle the first mistake people make on their resume, and that is to use the resume as a place to list your job duties and responsibilities. This is the wrong approach. Instead, a resume should be full of achievements and accomplishments, and just copying a list of your job duties does not tell the reader what you actually achieved. In fact, there is no place on your resume to list your job duties. In other words, your resume will work for you if you think about what a potential employer would want to know about how you will perform.

So let’s talk about why quantified data is so important to employers. This is because they want to know exactly what benefit you will bring to the company, and they look at specific examples of past performance as indicators of future performance.

If you want a resume that will pass Applicant Tracking Systems, attract the hiring manager’s attention, and get you interviews, you need to tailor the resume to the specific job you’re seeking. You also need to scrutinize the job posting for key words and phrases, so that you can match what the employer is seeking with what you’ve done. You have to make that employer see that you really are the best candidate for the job.

In addition to including accomplishments in your resume, you also need to quantify your accomplishments.The strongest accomplishment statements are quantified, meaning they are measured and expressed numerically.

So for example, don’t just say you tutored students; say how many and by how much their grades improved. Don’t just say you increased client retention; say by what percentage and over what time period. Don’t say you were successful; tell us exactly what results you achieved. Don’t just say “improved;” tell us by what percentage. The reader will imply that you can produce similar results for them.

I’ve seen time and time again how difficult it can be for some job seekers to look back on their career and come up with meaningful numbers. So my advice is, start now – if you’re currently employed, keep track of the projects you’re involved in at work; jot down numbers, percentages, quantifiable accomplishments of you and your team.

Whether you’re still employed or not, be sure to look back through your performance reviews and other documents for specific evidence of your accomplishments.  Of course, you have to be careful; only use and track information that isn’t private or confidential to your employer, and only include details that you’ll be able to confidently explain if asked.

To help put together a resume that is understandable, easy to read, and relevant, I always suggest starting out each accomplishment statement with an action verb. Verbs such as Introduce, Start, Establish, Lead, Manage, Organize, Increase, Improve, Save, Maximize. These are all great examples of how to start powerful and memorable accomplishment statements. By starting off with action verbs such as these, this puts you in the mindset of showcasing your specific accomplishments and backing them up with concrete examples.

That wraps up Part 2 of Job Seeker Confidence. With the information I’ve given you, I hope you can now avoid having a boring resume with a list of job duties. Be sure to check back in next week, when we’ll dive into another common resume mistake!

If we’re not yet connected on LinkedIn, be sure to reach out! I’d love to make new connections. And I look forward to hearing from you – what topics regarding your job search do you want to learn more about? Let’s start a discussion here or on LinkedIn!

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