One never knows when he or she will be called into the conference room to hear the unexpected news that their position has been eliminated. It is happening more and more these days as companies downsize, right size, realign, and / or allocate resources in a new way. If or when that day pops up on your calendar, an updated resume can be your best friend.
The most important feature of a resume is a list of accomplishments for current and former positions. Many people make the mistake of listing job duties as accomplishments. Resume preparation pros advise that your accomplishments should showcase your abilities and the contributions you have made to former employers, not merely list job duties.
Showcase your accomplishments on your resume by thinking about a project or initiative of which you are especially proud and asking yourself:
- What was the challenge? Most accomplishments involve overcoming obstacles. Examples include environmental and cultural aspects that required an innovative approach.
- How did you do what you did? Be specific about your activities. Use strong verbs and emphasize the strengths used to complete the task.
- Why was your contribution important? The impact of your activity is what changes a job duty into an accomplishment. Describe a deliverable or contribution to the organization as a result of your activity. Include quantifiable measures when possible.
Craft your answers to these three questions into a solid statement in one or two sentences. That’s how to effectively present an accomplishment on your resume.
Don’t wait for the day you are notified about your job elimination to document your accomplishments. It can be hard to remember key accomplishments of even your most recent job unless you document them around the time they occur. By doing so, you can whip together your resume when you need it for that perfect job opportunity.
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