This entire blog is going to be devoted to a single concept which if you take heed and implement will have the impact of strengthening your entire resume. By the time you are done, you will look at the finished product and feel a rise in your self-esteem, feel more confident about your overall applications in the future and be proud of how you look on paper.
I’m referring to the content of each bullet or line under you various work or volunteer roles. Instead of just putting done a few succinct words that say what you did, indicate your understanding of why you did the work you did and how that benefited your employer. Then as a potential employer reads it, they will understand that you get ‘it’; and if you understood your role for someone else, you will get ‘it’ when working for them. Not everybody gets ‘it’.
So right about now I bet a concrete example would help with your understanding of what it is I’m saying. Fair enough. Suppose the resume you are making is for a job as a Cashier in a grocery store. I like using examples of common jobs we all experience so that the majority of readers can relate. Okay so suppose the resume said this:
– Took money, ran till and bagged groceries
In the above bullet there are three job requirements and responsibilities being performed. Usually when I ask real people who have items like the above on their own resumes WHY they did those things, they reply by telling me it was their job, and they look at me like it’s an obvious answer that anyone should know.
But here’s the key thing. If you are only putting the absolute minimum on the resume of things you’ve done, and the only reason you did them was because the job description or boss told you to do it, you don’t get it! You are not marketing yourself to the best of your abilities and an employer can hire just about anyone to do those three things I think you’d agree, so why then don’t they hire just anyone? Why do they keep going through resumes until they settle on a select few to interview, and in the interview why not hire just anyone? No they keep looking for the right people. In both the resume and the interview they are looking for someone who will communicate to their satisfaction that they get it; and ‘it’ represents what exactly?
‘It’ is the understanding of the role you are applying for and how it fits into the overall business. So again, let’s look at that revised bullet first and then break down what’s being communicated.
– Entrusted to receive and accurately process payments including debit, cash and credit card transactions
– Carefully and quickly bagged groceries for customers to keep lines moving, all the while smiling and chatting with customers, thanking them for shopping with us and encouraging them to return which creates strong customer loyalty
Okay so it took two lines on a resume to get those same three job requirements. Can you see now however as this revision not only says what the person has done, but it demonstrates that they go about doing their job understanding that their role in the big picture is to be friendly, helpful, and by doing things this way they encourage repeat business which increases a stores profitability? I also point out the simple word, ‘”Entrusted’. This single word strengthens the words which follow because it states they trusted you and the implied message is that the person reading the resume considering you can trust you in the future.
Words that set up or add descriptions to words that follow beef up a resume and make the reading more interesting. You go from what I call a, ‘Tarzan’ or ‘Caveman’ kind of resume to one that is rich and brands you as someone who can not only do the job, but goes about the job with a higher purpose and understanding of how that job fits in the organization.
So imagine a store where people go about their business and all of them are, ‘just doing what’s in my job description’. Now imagine that same grocery store where people go about their business with purpose, with a greater understanding of their role in the overall operation. The people in the second example are going to do more, and do it with a smile, take a genuine interest in helping their customers, and the customers are going to flock to that second store because the experience – and that’s the key – the experience is much more enjoyable and they’ll want to repeat that experience again and again.
So back to the resume. Imagine now each and every bullet on your resume being rich and showing that you get ‘it’. The overall impact is going to land you more interviews no matter what job you’ve done and are talking about. Try searching online and look for, ‘action words for resumes’. You’ll get reams of good words to start each bullet and will be on the way to making a better and stronger resume that gets more results.
If you want true success, ensure each bullet on your resume doesn’t just state what you’ve done in a job, but shows why you did it, and the best bullets always relate these to the job you are now applying for.