Rainmaker’s Jennifer Shryock notes that a key element to getting an interview is a “compelling, engaging, believable resume.”
One way to get there? Move beyond language that says you were “responsible for.”
All “responsible for” tells the reader is that you know what you were supposed to do. But we don’t know whether you actually showed up to do it, and we certainly don’t know what you did well, what you might accomplish if we hired you.
Instead, showcase your actual achievements. Here’s how.
Rainmaker thinks of these achievements in terms of STAR statements.
Situation – Task – Action – Result
As an example, here’s a bullet point from a resume we’re working on for a communications executive. The resume could have said something like, “responsible for political campaign communications,” but we’re telling specific stories. We start with the outcome:
- Helped drive landslide win for political newcomer [name] for [elected position]
- Devised social media campaign, videos, with 21,600 views in final 2 weeks of [race] as the campaign’s communications director
We lead with the result, the “landslide win.” We share context, a candidate who is a “political newcomer.” We outline the task, communications, and the actions, the campaign development with videos.
And we quantify views, as numbers are one key to credibility. (When possible, we also use specific numbers; 21,600 is more precise, and believable, than 20,000.)
Other Formats to Spotlight Achievements
You may also get to results by thinking in terms of “before and after” statements. Outline the situation you inherited, noting the actions you took and the results achieved.
Here’s an example we used for a law enforcement officer:
- Drove 90%+ decrease in graffiti as volunteer task force supervisor, from 450 annual calls to 30-50
Also, consider the projects you managed. Then, list them as titles, and again, note the results. Here’s one project from a sales professional whose resume we completed earlier this year:
- Special Products: Transformed dying (publication name) to generate $30K+ by pairing it with (an event): negotiated lower printing costs and revised format to increase profitability.
Again, we’re counting stuff, and if the number is impressive and needs to jump out at the recruiter, we might bold it too for emphasis.
(Formatting fun: In the actual resume, we like using checkmarks as bullet points to denote the achievements.)
It’s still summer, and when we’re not at work, we’re on the river and out in the sun. We hope you’re getting outside too. And if you want to be in the great outdoors with purpose in one of the most beautiful places on earth, consider heading to Glacier National Park with Jennifer.
When it’s time to refresh your resume, take a run at it with STAR statements and our other hints in mind.