The holidays are a good time to look back and think about your professional achievements over the past 12 months. This review is especially important in updating your resume and preparing to sell yourself at job interviews.
Don’t think about the company or being on a team. What did you do to help the company succeed? What did you do that saved money or increased efficiency? Take a few days to conduct a thorough review. Invite a co-worker out for lunch or coffee and ask her to help you remember and articulate your success stories.
In presenting your achievements on a resume, list the result first whenever possible. If it is appropriate, quantify the success with a number that will give weight to the achievement. However, don’t put numbers in your resume just to have numbers. Be sure that they are being used to sell the value you will bring to your next employer.
Here are a few samples of how success stories can be represented on a resume:
• Increased quality and response time by 15%-20%.
• Selected to work on special projects that required strong organizational and research skills.
• Recognized as Employee of the Month (#1 of 180 employees).
• Exceeded sales quota by40%.
• Mentored employees who took on higher level responsibilities in managerial and creative roles.
• Increased sales from 25-30% each year.
• Led the highest growing team in the division (each account executive earns more than $45,000 in monthly profit).
Think about what the employer needs, not just accomplishments that make you proud. You also need to practice telling stories in more detail than they are presented on your resume. A good interviewer will ask you to explain how you achieved the success. If you’re not prepared to go into more detail, a success story on a resume can be a trip line during an interview.
You should conduct a review every year and try to have some current success stories on your resume. If you don’t want to update your resume, at least keep a file with your success stories so it will be easier for you to remember them. You never know when you might have an opportunity to move up in your career. Be prepared to tell your success stories and sell your value to potential employers.