- A commonly used section at the top of the resume, a Qualifications Summary or Professional Profile, provides an excellent vehicle for telling the story of who you are professionally. Later in this chapter we’ll see how.
- KPMG Principal Mary Anne Davidson observed on the HR.com Web site, “Candidates write about what their positions entailed and not what they actually did. So they tell us their job was to do XYZ. I know what controllers do. I know what recruiters do. I need to know what accomplishments you made in your role. This makes you different than another candidate.” Susan Britton Whitcomb, author of Resume Magic, one of the most highly recommended resume books on the market, calls accomplishments “the linchpin of a great resume.”
- To a great extent, if a job activity cannot be portrayed as an accomplishment, it may not be worthy of mention in your resume. Thus, your resume should be primarily accomplishments-driven (rather than driven by duties and responsibilities), and accomplishments are best communicated in story form.
- Accomplishment stories should include the situation, problem, or challenge that contextualizes your achievement, the action you took, and the results you attained; however, you should tell this story in reverse order “ results, action, problem/situation/challenge. Why? Because, as we noted earlier, the employer looks at your resume so quickly. Results need to be listed first for each accomplishment so these outcomes catch the reader’s eye. So, instead of SAR, PAR, or CAR stories (see Chapter 3), you’ll tell RAS, RAP, or RAC stories. We’ll see more information and examples later in this chapter.
- Some professional resume writers use the tactic of going easy on the story approach in the resume itself, but letting loose with stories of accomplishments, results, and outcomes in a resume addendum or career biography. Addendum examples appear later in this chapter.
- Most employers prefer a resume that is formatted mostly in bullet points “ which don’t exactly lend themselves to storytelling. You can tell stories in resume bullet points, but they must be concise, not wordy. Think of a story-based resume as “story lite.” You can go into more detail in a resume addendum, in your cover letter, and later in your interview. Focus-group participants emphasized the conciseness point repeatedly, strongly cautioning against wordiness, overblown adjectives, too much information, and the impact of accomplishments lost in a sea of text. One participant said, “If you could combine the brevity of [the non-storytelling resume] with the numerical details of [the story-based resume], that would be the preferred ideal.”
Her chapter on accomplishments is one of the best sources to help you compose effective accomplishments stories.
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