When you launch a multi–faceted job search campaign, you quickly learn that employers, hiring managers, and recruiters are looking for the same thing – a unique value proposition supported by solid, measurable achievements. Therefore, if your executive resume is not providing readers with an accurate picture of why they should hire you, you are doing yourself a disservice in your job search.
The first thing to do is take an objective look at your accomplishments. There are good, better and best ways of demonstrating career achievements. And hiring managers know the difference between them:
‘Helped the sales department reach their $500,000 annual revenue goal in the Fort Lincoln area.’
‘Helped the sales department reach their $500,000 annual revenue goal, despite rising competition in the Fort Lincoln area.’
‘Played a pivotal leadership role in ensuring the sales department achieved their aggressive $500,000 annual revenue goal. Accomplished this by instituting company–wide training initiatives that increased closing rates by 25% and enhanced customer retention by 15%.’
So, how do you take average sounding achievements from boring to standout without embellishing the facts? The idea is not to exaggerate, but to tell a story. For each achievement be sure to build in a mini–story that covers the challenge, the strategic action plan, and the bottom–line impact that resulted from your efforts. Remember, when developing your top achievements it is critical to provide the reader with the full scope of your contribution.
Below are three tried–and–true techniques that will help guide you in developing your high–impact accomplishments.
1. Describe the Challenge
What was going on with the company when you took over the position? What objectives or goals were you brought onboard to achieve? Don’t be afraid to reveal if you were hired to increase market share in a competitive industry, reduce operating costs for one of the company’s divisions, improve customer satisfaction ratings in a 12–month period or help navigate a product launch in a new marketplace.
While quantitative accomplishments may have a bigger impact on your resume, a well–written description of your challenges can be just as powerful. For example: ‘Tasked with delivering a 10% return on a $700 million investment portfolio in an unpredictable real estate industry.’
2. Describe Your Strategic Action Plan
How did you address the situation and what resources did you employ? What new strategies or programs did you put in place? This portion of the story allows you to give the readers insight into your leadership, strategic planning, and problem–solving capabilities.
Be careful, however, not to overwhelm your resume with minute details of each task you completed. Instead give an overall description of key steps you took to achieve those impressive results. For example: ‘Led transition team and orchestrated all facets of corporate acquisition including financial analysis, revenue projections, evaluation and pricing, and bid submission process.’
3. Quantify or Qualify the Results
What was the bottom–line impact of your actions? Was your plan successful? When formulating your final accomplishment statements, make sure your write them in a manner that speaks directly to your performance abilities and core competencies. Once you have extracted the “meat” of each accomplishment, simply summarize the main points in one to two sentences. Remember not to bury your performance impact at the end of the accomplishment statement. Place the bottom–line results first and use the remaining portion of the sentence to provide the background of your story. For example: ‘Grew investment portfolio from $500,000 to $3 million in two years by executing ardent negotiations and implementing innovative investment strategies.’
You’ve been recruited, promoted, and managed corporate challenges. Take your resume from good to better to best, and let your experience speak for itself.
Abby Locke, Executive Director of Premier Writing Solutions, is a Nationally Certified Resume-Writer and Personal Brand Strategist who helps senior-level professionals and C-level executives achieve personal success with customized, branded executive resumes and career marketing documents.