- It’s easy to do so
- It’s already written
- Typos have been removed (mostly!)
- It’s quick to do.
Here’s why you should never cut and paste your executive job description in your resume:
- A job description is not always accurate. People always bring their own skills to a role and through that, roles evolve. This means what you have personally brought to the job will simply never show on the paper.
- Job descriptions do not appraise or highlight your performance. They simply convey the minimum tasks you were required to perform. Nothing says fabulous employee like “minimum task” performer.
- A job description is like reading the telephone book. Dull, uninspiring, a slog to read, filled with mumbo-jumbo business-speak used in that company that no-one typically understands other than the people who work there.
So for expediency….
- You want to bore the reader of your resume senseless (the person who is going to call you for an interview)
- You’re going to tell them what you’re supposed to do, and
- You’re going to keep your achievements under wraps.
Hmmm… that sounds like a pretty poor strategy.
What if there was an easy way to turn your boring, oh-so-dull executive job description into a series of powerful bullet points?
Well, there is a way! You just have to ask yourself three short questions that start with Why, How and Who.
That’s it. That’s the secret. Those questions are:
- Why did I?
- How did I? or How well did I?
- Who benefited?
Have a look at a standard executive job description that I found on the internet just now with those questions highlighted.
- Why did I….Develop an operational plan which incorporates goals and objectives that work towards the strategic direction of the organization. Who benefited?
- How did I? Ensure that the operation of the organization meets the expectations of its clients, Board and Funders. Who benefited?
- How well did I… Oversee the efficient and effective day-to-day operation of the organization? Who benefited?
- How well did I… Draft policies for the approval of the Board and prepare procedures to implement the organisational policies; why did I… review existing policies on an annual basis and recommend changes to the Board as appropriate. Who benefited?
- Why did I… Ensure that personnel, client, donor and volunteer files are securely stored and privacy/confidentiality is maintained. How well did I do this? Who benefited?
- How well did I… Provide support to the Board by preparing meeting agenda and supporting materials. Who benefited?
So now, a job description has prompted you to think more about what you’ve done.
Let’s look at a couple of examples and see how you can shape them to sell your competencies and achievements more effectively.
Why did I develop an operational plan?
I did it to improve the strategic direction of the organisation.
Because the organisation had been in a rut for years with no vision.
Who benefited? Shareholders, employers and customers.
This bullet point could now be:
- Provided the impetus that transformed a stagnant organisation into a one with vision and strategy. The new operational plan, incorporating goals and objectives, was praised for its contemporary approach toward engaging shareholders, employees and customers.
We’ll try the next bullet:
- Surpassed client, Board and funder expectations by steering a new operational blueprint governing individual ownership and championing a results-focus.
Try it yourself.
Asking yourself those three simple questions will allow you to build a strong and compelling focus around your talents and your successes. Something everyone wants to read.