I have a confession to make. I have been seeing way too many weak resumes lately, and I’m starting to get tired of it because I see so many high-potential candidates underselling themselves and not getting the opportunities they deserve.
Recruiters treat resumes as a direct reflection of your potential. If you have it handy, open up your resume right now and quickly scan through it. What is it saying to you? What is it saying about you? Would you want to talk to yourself if you were the recruiter holding that resume?
Here’s how you can write impactful resume statements to get noticed and accelerate your career!
1. Identify a key action you took in your organization.
Notice how I say ‘action’ and not ‘responsibility’. If I’m scanning your resume for a top CPG role that you’re dying to land, I don’t care only about what you were responsible for because that to me is the bare minimum. Recruiters care about the actions you took to go above and beyond your job description because that demonstrates that you’re high potential. Here are some questions that may help you identify your key actions:
- Were you ever the first to do something?
- Was your role new to the organization?
- Did you identify a challenge and make a new proposal to management to solve it?
- Did you launch a product or execute an event?
- Did you hire, train, and manage a team?
- Did you complete a key project that surpassed expectations, achieved time savings, or contributed to the organization’s bottom line?
- Did you receive an award or performance review that recognized you as being in the top 5-10% of the organization?
2. Decide on a catchy action verb.
Each of your bullets should begin with an action verb like ‘launched’, ‘executed’ or ‘performed’. This way, a recruiter can easily scan your resume and get a great sense of the impact you made on your organization. Here’s a bank of key action verbs for you to get started with:
Created, Analyzed, Developed, Collaborated, Oversaw, Pioneered, Revitalized, Negotiated, Realized, Improved, Recommended, Selected, Surpassed, Managed, Designed, Led, Liaised, Simplified, Achieved, Coordinated, Utilized, Examined, Proposed, Initiated, Assessed, Reported, Completed
3. Sum up and quantify the results that you created.
Your bullets should be no more than three lines each. Any longer than this will make it difficult for recruiters to scan because your resume will lack whitespace. To break up long lines of text, I recommend including numbers that quantify the impact you created and concretely demonstrate your potential. Here are a few examples:
- Revitalized a territory that had been neglected for eight months. Rebuilt relationships between key clients by driving increases in their bottom lines, resulting in visible sales improvement and over-delivery of target by 2% within two months of new role
- Analyzed clients’ resources and created strategic plans to grow revenue by improving frontline customer service, driving increase in service standards by 7% within one year.
- Promoted to leadership role within 11 months (average promotion path: 2 years); managed 25-30 direct reports.
4. Proofread to make sure you’re being as concise as possible.
Always proofread your resume to check if you’re using too many words. My top tip: if it can be shortened without losing impact, shorten it. To get a second opinion on this, ask your former boss or colleague to review it for you.
When you’re writing your resume, be conscious of the fact that you’re likely going to unintentionally undersell yourself. You may not be comfortable acknowledging your own accomplishments and as a result your writing may across as unconfident and responsibilities-oriented.