Let’s discuss a topic of utmost importance as you advance in your career: crafting a compelling resume. As a career transition professional, I frequently work with resumes, and a common observation is the tendency for individuals to focus on listing their previous job responsibilities. However, it’s crucial to recognize that prospective employers are not just interested in the tasks you’ve undertaken. Rather, they look into your accomplishments and contributions within those roles. I’m here to dive deeper into my top resume tips and to provide guidance on how to effectively showcase your achievements on your resume.

When creating a resume, you may want to develop one that is your standard resume and then create new resumes customized based on that standard for every individual job listing you find and apply to. This will help you be more efficient as you tailor your resume to each listing. Creating multiple resumes may seem daunting, which is why I like to recommend Teal HQ to help you create resumes faster and more effectively.

Make Your Accomplishment Bullets Stand out

My first tip is to make sure the bullets on your resume showcase your accomplishments properly and make those accomplishments stand out from other resumes. Let’s dive deeper into the concept of utilizing accomplishment bullets in resumes. The primary objective of any resume is to secure an invitation for an interview. Therefore, it is imperative to establish a clear connection between your resume, the job announcement, and the occupational questionnaire. This entails understanding the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) outlined in the job announcement and a potential occupational questionnaire (if available), and aligning your resume accordingly. Your goal should be to effectively demonstrate how your experiences and qualifications fulfill the requirements of the position. By crafting accomplishment bullets that directly address the desired KSAs of the job you’re applying to, you significantly enhance your chances of successfully transitioning into the next phase of your career.

Maximizing Your Resume’s Impact: Leveraging Numbers and Action Verbs in Your Achievements

As I’ve said, you need to make a connection between what the company you’re trying to join is looking for, what you’ve accomplished in the past, how you’ve accomplished results and how that has contributed ultimately to the success of the organization. This is where we need to get to the point. Here is where we can give very specific objective and measurable examples. We want to avoid broad generalizations and we want to list specific accomplishments in detail and how those results benefited the organization. 

We need to use numbers, percentages, et cetera to quantify our achievements. Numbers and percentages communicate pretty clearly because it’s a shorthand. Our brains are able to understand all of the challenges that were overcome more easily, so including these numbers should be something that you’re building your accomplishments around. There are several formats you can use as you craft these accomplishment bullets. Let’s walk through those resume bullet formats below.

First Resume Format: verb+object+result

Now I would like to talk about four distinct formats for constructing accomplishments. The first format involves utilizing a strong, active verb, followed by an object, and concluding with the achieved result. Allow me to illustrate with an example: “Saved the Fargo Veterans Administration Health Care Services up to $190,000 by enhancing the medicine reconciliation process.” Additionally, consider the accomplishment of shortening cycle times by 38% and reducing errors by 46%. In this instance, the verb “saved” indicates the action taken, the object refers to the Fargo VA Health Care System, and the results quantify the financial savings and improved efficiency. This approach ensures clarity and effectiveness in communicating achievements.

Second Resume Format: verb+object+recipient/for whom

Moving on to the second format, we have the structure of verb, object, and recipient/for whom. Allow me to provide an example: “Maintained a 500-patient research database for the lead oncology researcher over a 24-month study period.” In this instance, “maintained” serves as the action verb, “500-patient research database” serves as the object, and the recipient is the lead oncology researcher. Similarly, consider another example: “Prepared a $1 million annual budget for the service unit, working directly with the service chief.” Here, “prepared” functions as the verb, “$1 million annual budget” serves as the object, and the recipient is the service chief.

Third Resume Format: verb+objects+skills

Onto the third format, which involves the sequence of verbs, objects, and the skills utilized. For instance: “Developed a new service automated process, utilizing Microsoft Office skills, resulting in a 15% increase in productivity.” This format not only highlights the action taken and the object involved but also emphasizes the specific skills employed, accompanied by a quantifiable outcome.

Fourth Resume Format: verb+object+how

Finally let’s discuss another format for constructing accomplishments: verb followed by object and how. For instance, “Installed 20 new cooling units throughout the medical facility, completing the project 10 days ahead of schedule and $2000 under budget.” 

To recap our discussion, we’ve covered four distinct formats: verb-object-results, verb-object-for whom, verb-object-skills, and verb-object-how. 

Final Resume Tips To Remember

Be sure, of course, to check your grammar and spelling. You want to use strong action verbs and an active voice. So you want to use words like administered, secured, advised, analyzed, approved, originated, written, performed, planned, prepared, presented by, etc. You can find a list of these kinds of verbs all over the internet. Just like this one we found by the University of Colorado. 

Crafting a great resume isn’t just about jotting down your job duties or responsibilities. It’s about showing off what you’ve achieved and how you’ve made a difference. So, when you’re putting together your resume, make sure to customize it for each job you’re eyeing and use those accomplishment bullets to really make your wins shine. Don’t forget to include strong action verbs, numbers/statistics when available, and detailed examples to really make it pop. If you’re still struggling with landing that job you’ve been working toward, check out our services to see if there might be a good fit for you. We are here to help make the process a little easier on you!