Turning an Executive Job Description Into Powerful Resume Content

PR 018- SI - 16_04_12-1054Here’s why you currently cut and paste your job description in your resume:

  • 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.


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About 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.