The reality of today’s job market is whether you’re a new grad or a mid-level professional, you’re lucky to get a quick skim read the first time around by a recruiter or hiring manager. For many, the process of boiling down your blood, sweat and tears into something that can fit onto one or two pages can be frustrating, overwhelming and intimidating. The result? A resume that is tough to digest quickly and that doesn’t convey how you are well-suite for the role. It’s a tall order — which means it’s more than OK to get help writing a resume.
The Vacation Research Analogy
Today’s resume reading can be compared to selecting a vacation property. When choosing how to spend your precious R&R –– do you look for the number of hotel rooms available, the location of the fire exit and the list of all the menu items included in room service? Hardly.
You look at the big picture. Does the destination have the amenities you enjoy? Do lodgings meet your standards? Is the resort in appealing surroundings? If the print or digital brochure ticks the right boxes, you’re likely to make the resort a serious contender.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Vacation research is akin to resume and LinkedIn reading. In both, the big picture, and not the fine print, is what makes you give it serious thought after an initial review.
Transforming Your Career Blueprint into a Big Picture Brochure
Translating the big picture to a resume and your LinkedIn means focusing on your achievements. If you’re in sales, work for a company that tracks your stats and had a banner year, outlining the big picture is fairly easy (and may not need as much help writing a resume). Show your stats and rankings and voila! You have an achievement-focused resume that shows the reader how you can help them.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: If you work directing teams that span operations, marketing, administration, HR or perhaps finance – you must dig deeper as results are often hidden in plain sight.
Quantifying for The Big Picture (aka how to quantify results when not in Sales)?
Just because you’re not in sales, or your role doesn’t seem directly tied to the company’s revenue, doesn’t mean you don’t have quantifiable or measurable results. Below are 5 questions to get you thinking about measuring your success.
#1 What Makes Me Proud?
When and if you walk out the door, what you are proudest of? 9 times out of 10, a resume specialist will lead with this response.
Did you stop your organization from losing money, get the same amount done with fewer people or build a strong network across an organization? Maybe you developed your team to the point where they operate exceptionally well without you?
These are all noteworthy achievements that give the reader a sense of how you can make a difference in your next role.
#2 Did I Save Money?
Saving money is often just as important as bringing money to the table.
If you negotiated discounts, identified financial discrepancies or reworked a process so that less money is spent – you can articulate the achievement by calculating the savings in either dollar figures or percentages.
#3 Did I Save Time?
Time savings is a huge value-add to companies looking to increase their operational efficiency.
Did you rework a process that used to take days and now takes hours? Did you introduce a new methodology or bring automation to a team or process that shaves hours off a task? Spell these out to quantify the savings.
#4 Are People Happier Because of Me?
When morale is suffering and retention levels are on the decline, readers will take note if your talent lies in transforming a culture or retaining clients, customers or employees.
Take a stab at quantifying happiness by seeing how many people or customers stayed, or look at satisfaction scores if available and see if there is a measurable uptick.
If you can somehow measure morale or customer satisfaction, you’ve got a quantifiable achievement worth putting down on your resume.
#5 Did I Contribute to Improving my Company’s Circumstances
It may be hard to determine the impact of your individual contribution to the company on a large scale. Take a look at your company’s growth (revenue, market share, associate) during your tenure. Did your company survive where competition failed or did it stem the bleeding?
Noting your part of the team effort that contributed to the achievement will show your role in the big picture.
Writing with a “Brochure Frame of Mind”
These questions are a great way to get the creative juices flowing, and to give you help writing a resume that reads like a marketing brochure.