Results, not Responsibilities: How to Describe Job Experience on Your Résumé
You’ve got years of relevant experience, a job history that charts your steady upward progression in your field, and a reference list that reads like a “Who’s Who” of the industry. Slapping together a knock-‘em-dead résumé should be a piece of cake, right? Not so fast. Even a job seeker with a stellar track record and impeccable credentials might have a hard time landing a new position if they can’t translate their experience on to paper effectively. Rather than looking at your résumé as nothing more than a dry chronological history of your career, try looking at it as a marketing campaign designed to persuade prospective employers that you’d be a perfect fit.
Don’t Just Tell Them What You Do, Tell Them How Well You Do It
One area that often trips up job seekers is the “Experience” section of their résumé. According to Rick Fox, a principal partner at recruiting industry giant the Princeton Group, far too many job seekers waste an opportunity to really sell their skills in this section, opting instead for nothing more than a list of companies, job titles, and dates of employment.
Instead of parading out a series of generic job-duty descriptions, your résumé’s “Experience” section is your chance to explain exactly why prospective employers they should choose you over all of the other qualified applicants that have thrown their hats in the ring. Here are some tips to help transform your résumé’s “Experience” section into a more effective marketing tool.
Omit generic job descriptions.
Let’s face it – most hiring managers in the hospitality industry already have a good understanding of what most positions in the field entail. If you’re devoting too much space to describing your daily duties in great detail, you could be squandering some prime résumé real-estate.
Highlight only unique or position-related duties.
One exception to the point above: if your responsibilities are unusually broad or you’re tasked with duties that aren’t usually linked with your job title, be sure to make that clear. Also, if either your current position or past roles have included duties that are very close to the one you’re applying for, emphasize the similarities.
Focus on your specific accomplishments.
So, you’ve deleted all of the lengthy job descriptions from your résumé’s “Experience” section. Now what? Create a bullet list under each job title and list a few of your most significant achievements, accomplishments, and successfully completed projects.
When possible, use numbers and figures to back up your claims.
Nothing can back up your résumé experience more effectively than hard facts. If you can, use specific details such as boosted sales figures, improved efficiencies, and increased earnings or profits to make your case. If you don’t have access to the numbers, try to describe you achievements using specific and detailed terminology.
Verbs and action words lend a sense of dynamic energy.
The purpose of focusing on your achievements, rather than just describing your experience, is to project an image of yourself as an ambitious, hard-working up-and-comer who has a history of going above and beyond the call of duty. If you lapse into stodgy, stilted “résumé-speak,” you could be doing serious damage to that image. Instead, try to structure your statements around muscular, action-oriented verbs and phrases. Have writer’s block? Do an Internet search for “résumé action words” for inspiration.
By focusing on results rather than responsibilities when you describe your job experience, you’ll shine a spotlight on your accomplishments and make sure your résumé gets the extra attention it deserves. Good luck!