- In each job, what special things did you do to set yourself apart? How did you do the job better than anyone else did or than anyone else could have done?
- What did you do to make each job your own?
- How did you take the initiative? How did you go above and beyond what was asked of you in your job description?
- What special things did you do to impress your boss so that you might be promoted?
- And were you promoted? Rapid and/or frequent promotions can be especially noteworthy.
- How did you leave your employers better off than before you worked for them?
- Did you win any awards, such as Employee of the Month honors?
- What are you most proud of in each job?
- Is there material you can use from your annual performance reviews? Did you consistently receive high ratings? Any glowing quotes you can use from former employers?
- Have you received any complimentary memos or letters from employers or customers?
- What tangible evidence do you have of accomplishments — publications you’ve produced, products you’ve developed, software applications you’ve written?
- Think of the “PEP Formula,” Profitability, Efficiency, and Productivity. How did you contribute to profitability, such as through sales increase percentages? How did you contribute to efficiency, such as through cost reduction percentages? How did you contribute to productivity, such as through successfully motivating your team? Read more about the PEP Formula and see samples.
- Quantify. Employers love numbers. Examples:
- Increased sales by 50 percent over the previous year.
- Produced total meal sales 20 percent higher than those of the other servers in the restaurant.
- Supervised staff of 25.
- Served a customer base of 150, the largest on firm’s customer-service team.
- Use superlatives. As Donald Asher notes in his excellent resume reference for college students, From College to Career, you can impress employers with words such as “first,” “only,” “best,” “most,” and “highest.” See more examples in our Cover Letter Tutorial.
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