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

I love words, respect their power and I’m passionate about using language that evokes an immediate and positive reaction from employers. Every resume I create, every coaching session I provide, every snippet of advice offered aims to help executives and leaders of tomorrow promote their authenticity in ways no smart employer could dare resist. I like to be first, just as I want my clients to be first past the finish line. I was Australia’s first Master Resume Writer, Certified G3 Coach, Certified Personal Branding Strategist and Certified Job Loss Recovery Coach—credentials still held by just a handful of professionals worldwide. An author, with additional works published in twenty-plus international career books, recipient of more than twenty-seven resume writing awards, and a specialist in creating unbeatable value propositions for senior executives for more than two decades, is your guarantee of excellence.

  • http://twitter.com/gaylehoward/status/10645117423 Gayle Howard

    Updated my blog! Resumes: Two Phrases to Turn Robotic to Robust: Cutting and pasting your curre.. http://bit.ly/atgdGj

  • http://twitter.com/gaylehoward/status/10645117423 Gayle Howard

    Updated my blog! Resumes: Two Phrases to Turn Robotic to Robust: Cutting and pasting your curre.. http://bit.ly/atgdGj

  • http://twitter.com/katrinakibben/status/10723751034 Katrina Kibben

    Love this- great advice! RT @GayleHoward: #Resumes: 2 Phrases to Turn Robotic to Robust http://bit.ly/atgdGj

  • http://twitter.com/katrinakibben/status/10723751034 Katrina Kibben

    Love this- great advice! RT @GayleHoward: #Resumes: 2 Phrases to Turn Robotic to Robust http://bit.ly/atgdGj

  • http://twitter.com/monstercareers/status/10875712225 Monster Careers

    RT @GayleHoward: #Resumes: 2 Phrases to Turn Robotic to Robust http://bit.ly/atgdGj

  • http://twitter.com/monstercareers/status/10875712225 Monster Careers

    RT @GayleHoward: #Resumes: 2 Phrases to Turn Robotic to Robust http://bit.ly/atgdGj

  • http://jobsearchsuccessblog.com Kathy Bitschenauer

    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

    • http://www.topmargin.com Gayle

      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 ;-)

  • http://jobsearchsuccessblog.com Kathy Bitschenauer

    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

    • http://www.topmargin.com Gayle

      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 ;-)

  • Business Effective Guide Marke

    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

  • Business Effective Guide Marketing Small

    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