The majority of resumes that I review still lack clear achievements – specific examples, backed my metrics when possible, of the impact an individual has made throughout her career. If that is the case for you, save this post for later and head here. I am, however, encouraged to see more and more resumes that include a few actual achievements. That is promising. But even when a resume includes clear achievements, they still tend to miss the mark by not speaking to underlying actions or strategy.
Let me give you a common example.
Sales executives tend to have a very easy time measuring their impact. They have clear goals and KPIs, and their performance is objectively measured against those goals. That doesn't mean that the sales executive resumes I see are flush with achievements, but when a sales executive does have clear achievements on her or his resume, it is usually some form of the following:
Achieved 115% of annual revenue target in 2018.
That's certainly impressive, and much better than listing a simple responsibility (which doesn't speak at all to actual performance). Still, it's stopping short of telling a compelling story. It's lacking any insight into strategy. And insight into strategy helps readers grasp how you might replicate the success in their organization.
Here is that same bullet with some insight into strategy.
Achieved 115% of annual revenue target in 2018 by focusing on account penetration and product cross sales, resulting in deeper client relationships and ~$800K in incremental revenue across 2 quarters.
See how much more effective that second bullet point is? Not only does it provide insight into strategy, it expands on the achievement to provide some underlying successes (e.g. deeper client relationships). As a reader, wouldn't you trust that the person who wrote the second bullet would be more capable of replicating that success?
Specific achievements with supporting metrics are foundational to an effective resume. But providing insight into strategy and approach is a sure way to differentiate yourself and help readers understand your potential impact.