Resumes: Two Phrases to Turn Robotic to Robust

Cutting and pasting your current job description into the experience section of your resume speaks volumes about your slap dash, throw-it-all-together-in-a-minute approach and attitude. Is that really the impression you want to give?

The key problem with job descriptions (apart from the fact they are mind-numbingly boring to read and full of fluffy, nonsensical business-speak) is that they were written long before you moved into the role. They give no indication of what you achieved. (And as you should know by now, achievements are key to articulating your value and getting noticed by decision-makers).

Realistically, how could the following phrases, a typical one seen in a job description, ever begin to sell you?

Reference:  Sales Career Online.

  • Demonstrates ability to meet or exceed sales quota.
  • Complete understanding of pricing and proposal models.
  • Demonstrates the ability to carry on a business conversation with business owners and decision makers.
  • Maximises all opportunities in the process of closing a sale resulting in the taking of market share from larger competitors.
  • Sells solutions and makes recommendations to prospects and clients of the various products/services the company offers to their business issues.
  • Develops a database of qualified leads through referrals, telephone canvassing, face to face cold calling on business owners, direct mail, email, and networking.
  • Assists in the implementation of company marketing plans as needed.

Boring? Yes definitely! It says nothing about you and what you’ve achieved. But…there is a way to use your job description to turn your resume from robotic to robust and it starts off by using just two phrases: “How did I?” and “How well did I?”

Think of each entry as an example and ask yourself:

  • HOW DID I meet or exceed the sales quota?
  • HOW WELL DID I meet or exceed the sales quota?
  • HOW DID I sell solutions and make recommendations….
  • HOW WELL DID I sell solutions and make recommendations?

Asking yourself those two phrases before each area of your job description will have you well on the way to writing powerful sentences that highlight your achievements.

Here’s an example of your draft response:

HOW DID I meet or exceed the sales quota?

  • I met and exceeded the sales quota by establishing a follow-up campaign where I called all clients every three weeks.

HOW WELL DID I meet or exceed the sales quota?

  • I generated an average of $5,000 a week in repeat business which far exceeded the quota of $3,500 and beat my nearest competitor by $1000 a week.

The achievement in your resume then becomes:

  • Consistently exceeded sales targets by up to 43% and outpaced nearest sales team competitors by 28%. Successes attributed to personally developed follow-up campaign that kept product and company name at the forefront of customers’ minds.

Now this is an achievement! It is also an easy way to develop value-added structure to your resume by using those job descriptions as a guide. All you need to remember is “How did I” and “How well did I”?

Let’s make this the week that you revamp your resume with the aim of making every point made on it a winner. Are you ready to take on that challenge?

Posted by Gayle Howard

Gayle Howard

If you are interested in working with Gayle Howard—an executive resume writer, Certified Master Resume Writer, multi-award-winning resume writer, and Master LinkedIn profile writer, drop her a line now using the contact form at the link above. Gayle can help you get interviews for your dream job and bring the world of business to you by maximizing your exposure and connections on LinkedIn.

Comments

  1. says

    Hi, Gayle,

    I love your examples of how to turn job descriptions into achievement statements. I

    I’m intrigued by one point in your post. I noticed that you converted sales dollars increased into percentages when you wrote the concluding achievement statement. I would love to know how you computed the dollars into percentage and the reason why you changed the numbers from dollars to percentages.

    Cheers!

    ~Kathy

    • says

      Hi Kathy
      Whether I write percentages or actual numbers is usually a call I make with an individual case. But my personal rule-of-thumb is if the numbers are low, I tend to use percentages. So if you reduced headcount from five people to two, it sounds a bit meagre. On the other hand a 60% reduction sounds more impressive. In other times, a lot of companies have confidentiality demands and do not allow employees stating numbers regarding revenues, budgets and the like. In that case, percentages can still sound impressive and the person keeps to the confidentiality agreement. As far as how I calculate percentages, I cheat by using this site: http://www.infoseek.com.au/percentage.htm 😉

  2. says

    Hi, Gayle,

    I love your examples of how to turn job descriptions into achievement statements. I

    I’m intrigued by one point in your post. I noticed that you converted sales dollars increased into percentages when you wrote the concluding achievement statement. I would love to know how you computed the dollars into percentage and the reason why you changed the numbers from dollars to percentages.

    Cheers!

    ~Kathy

    • says

      Hi Kathy
      Whether I write percentages or actual numbers is usually a call I make with an individual case. But my personal rule-of-thumb is if the numbers are low, I tend to use percentages. So if you reduced headcount from five people to two, it sounds a bit meagre. On the other hand a 60% reduction sounds more impressive. In other times, a lot of companies have confidentiality demands and do not allow employees stating numbers regarding revenues, budgets and the like. In that case, percentages can still sound impressive and the person keeps to the confidentiality agreement. As far as how I calculate percentages, I cheat by using this site: http://www.infoseek.com.au/percentage.htm 😉

  3. Business Effective Guide Marke says

    Just what I was searching for! I was researching articles for our site when I came across your post (on Resumes: Two Phrases to Turn Robotic to Robust | The Executive Brand Blog) which I noticed on AOL. We would love you to write for us, if interested. I’ve bookmarked this post for future reference. Nice comments here as well – Cheers from Business Effective Guide Marketing Small

  4. Business Effective Guide Marketing Small says

    Just what I was searching for! I was researching articles for our site when I came across your post (on Resumes: Two Phrases to Turn Robotic to Robust | The Executive Brand Blog) which I noticed on AOL. We would love you to write for us, if interested. I’ve bookmarked this post for future reference. Nice comments here as well – Cheers from Business Effective Guide Marketing Small

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