I sat down this week with a 39 year old client to review his resume. As we went through his resume, I suggested changes and the reasons for them. Perhaps some of the items we discussed would be helpful to you. Here goes….

Creating attention from the start of your resume

My client’s resume started with a few sentences that included a glowing description as “ambitious, enthusiastic, and sincere” and noted his desire to work in “a more challenging position in a progressive and high integrity organization”. I explained that while this all sounded positive, recruiters and hiring managers translate the earlier words as self-serving back patting and the latter as overly demanding. We agreed to delete this section.

Next, the resume contained two columns of bulleted information. One such bullet read “outstanding leadership skills”. I explained that, as a salesperson with little management experience, these types of bullets were not substantiated by his past responsibilities and accomplishments. They sounded like more self-serving back patting. So, we deleted this section.

Having rid ourselves of the unproductive verbiage that had filled the first third of the page, we discussed his job goal and his positive qualifications. Based upon this conversation, we added a job goal (Account Executive) and a bulleted list of his most notable qualifications. This resulted in a stronger, more believable beginning to his resume. As I mention in my career book, This is a personal favorite that I have found to be highly effective for many.”

Selling accomplishments in your work history

The next section of the resume contained a reverse chronological work history that included bulleted items under each job title – exactly what recruiters and hiring managers want to see. But, there was one big problem with this section of the resume. It was full of responsibilities and almost completely lacking accomplishments.

Imagine – a sales person with no dollars in his resume! There was no quantification of how much he grew revenues, the number of new accounts he had acquired, how he had ranked versus his sales peers, etc. His current resume was, in effect, what recruiters and hiring managers refer to as a “responsibilities resume” rather than an “accomplishments resume”. And this was a huge mistake.

So, the client went back to previous sales managers and obtained sales data that allowed him to quantify his results. We added bullets to describe these results and added numbers into some of his existing bullets. This strengthened his presentation by better highlighting his accomplishments. As with the earlier portion of the resume, we edited out the back patting and added back positive, factual information.

The resume expanded beyond the initial one-pager. Expanded to a second page allowed us to increase his narrow margins and add details. This expanded footprint made his experience appear more substantial.

Education information … and more

The resume ended with an education section that consisted of his degree and university name. His graduation date and highly successful summer sales internship were omitted. We added these items to strengthen this section.

Next, we discussed his notable experience with sales forecasting, reporting, and administration systems. From this, we rounded out his resume by adding a section that specified these systems skills.

Employers want to hire people who can deliver value. By adding quantified results and accomplishments to your resume, you can best describe the value you have delivered in the past and your potential for the future. And this is your best approach for selling yourself!