Executive and mid-level job seekers can sometimes find it difficult to enumerate and express the value that they bring to a company. But defining your brand value is crucial for attracting recruiters, networking, interviewing, and negotiating salary. In this blog post we will share why resume accomplishments can be a game-changer when you submit applications as well as tips on how to identify your career accomplishments, and brand them effectively on your resume.
What are accomplishments?
Accomplishments illustrate how your work has somehow enhanced the companies listed on your resume. These enhancements you’ve left for your prior employers, are the result of your skills being put to work. Skills without accomplishments, don’t speak highly to your abilities. Accomplishments do just that. They show how well your skills are developed by the results you have produced. The company that you want to work for is eager to hire someone who can get the job done well; someone who will go above and beyond the daily tasks and really show initiative. This is why accomplishments on a resume – in the form of company impact – are so important for your professional brand.
How accomplishments set you apart from your competition
You’re in a competitive field which is creating an even more competitive job search. You are competing against hundreds of other qualified candidates and you are experiencing this first-hand by the lack of interview call-backs. If this is the case, the issue is that of your resume. It is not compelling enough and needs an accomplishments refresh. Your accomplishments are the proof that you can do your target job well – and even better than those with whom you’re competing. If you neglect to create strong resume accomplishments, your job search will suffer.
Why accomplishments are important for recruiter and hiring manager conversations
Accomplishments are your leverage in key hiring conversations. Recruiters will be seeking this information in the initial recruiter screen. If you pass the recruiter screen, the hiring manager and other key interviewers will be looking and listening for accomplishments as well. If you can’t provide clear and compelling proof in your resume of how your work has benefitted your past employers –and be ready to discuss that with a recruiter or hiring manager–there goes your leverage. This is why resume accomplishments are so important. Without well-articulated accomplishments, your resume won’t even make it to or even past the initial recruiter screen.
Who exactly needs strong accomplishments on the resume?
Accomplishments are a must for executive resumes. The same goes for fifty-plus job searchers. Accomplishments are also important for mid-level professionals who aspire for the executive career track. If you are an early-career professional, you may not have the same level of accomplishments as an executive, but that does not mean you shouldn’t keep track of your brightest and best results. If you’re someone who is looking to advance your career now or in the future – strong accomplishments are a must!
How to identify your career accomplishments and impact to enhance your resume
As you review your job responsibilities over the years, ask yourself:
- Did you increase revenue? If so, how much? What specifically did you do to increase revenue?
- Did you improve any company processes? Did you make any operations or procedures more efficient?
- Did you hire powerful and talented personnel that surpassed expectations and goals?
- Did you transform/change any part of the organization’s structure or workflow and make the company more profitable?
- Did you save the organization money through contract negotiation? Hire more efficient contractors? Reduce waste? Add new technology?
- Did you expand or develop a business in any way?
Asking yourself these questions can help you put down on paper what recruiters and the hiring team are desperate to hear from you.
How impact can increase your earnings in the salary negotiation process
It’s usually easy to describe your daily work because your tasks and responsibilities were defined for you when you were hired. But when you apply your skills, tools, and your business acumen to the work, you might have actually benefitted your team, division, and company in ways that the company didn’t experience before you arrived. This information can more than justify your salary and your ROI for the company. And it’s this information that can further justify your salary asks when it comes time for promotion, or counter-offer negotiation for a new job.
If you can’t name and detail impact and value-add in your resume, chances are you won’t be able to do so in an interview. And there go your chances for salary negotiation and even hire.
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How resume accomplishments influence the hiring manager’s mindset
The company that you want to work for is draining money while a position is vacant, and onboarding/training is expensive. The company has already spent time and money on finding you. And we won’t even go into how empty positions affect employee morale. A key to getting hired is making sure that your resume provides that clear and compelling proof that you will make the company more money than it takes to hire you. The less impact that you show on your resume, the less attractive you appear, and the hiring team will conclude the less likely you will be able to succeed. If you want to appear to be a fit, you need to include strong accomplishments.
How your resume accomplishments will result in better job interviews
If you show impact and value on your resume, your job interviews will be more interactive and more productive. The interview will be more of a 2-way conversation during which you’ll be able to assess the company just as the company is assessing you. Without accomplishments, the interview is more of an interrogation during which the interviewer asks for more clarification.
How it works – what not to do
For example, if the resume says, “Worked with sales department to increase revenue,” the recruiter will have a lot of questions. The first thing the recruiter is going ask is, “Were there any results from working with the sales department? By how much did you increase revenue? What was your role in increasing revenue? How exactly did you increase revenue?”
As you can see – there are a lot of unanswered questions that this simple resume bullet produces. If a recruiter has that many questions, you might be lucky to even land an interview in the first place. Generic resume statements such as this, leave too much open for interpretation, and the last thing you want is an interpretation that results in you NOT getting called in for an interview.
How it works – what to do
If the resume says, “Increased revenue 30% in one year by hiring sales managers to oversee crucial territories” – now you are telling the hiring personnel EXACTLY what you did and more importantly – that you are more than capable of getting the job done.
Accomplishments listed like this, are likely to be impressive enough to land an interview. Then, in the interview, the recruiter might say, “Yes, we changed management in our Northeast Division because it was a crucial region.” And then you can both further discuss your experiences.
Compared to the first example, a candidate with this level of detail in his/her resume detail is more likely to land the interview.
Accomplishments will create a more effortless job search
If you start looking for accomplishments by asking targeted questions, you will be amazed at how much you have achieved. Once you have discovered your professional value you can use it to your advantage in a multitude of career scenarios. Companies want to know why they should hire you as opposed to one of your colleagues. If you promote your impact and your professional value properly, it will be obvious why the company should hire you.
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