Workplace Rights

Weekly (8/16/10)

Topic of the Week  It's All About Me: Listing Your Accomplishments on Your Resume

· DO give numbers.
· DO give comparisons.
· DON'T overlook the mission statement.

Many people struggle with how to clearly document their expertise and accomplishments on their resume without boasting or appearing to be conceited. Which reminds me of when a Florida high school freshman bet his Spanish teacher that the student would wear the same pair of shoes to school each day until graduation. Well it's now four years later and the student's toes stick out the front of the shoes, but Ben Hedblom is on track to win his bet. And his Spanish teacher will have to shave his hair and eyebrows to hold up his end of the deal.

Four years in the same shoes, okay most of us don't have such a spectacular accomplishment on our resume. Not even close. But most of us do have many impressive things that potential employers should know about, the key is how to communicate it. I've included three Do's and one Don't below to help you state your case without being annoying. For more, check out "Resume Magic" by Susan Britton Whitcomb (JIST, 2010).

DO give numbers. Which of the following statements would catch your eye if you were hiring a new employee? "Increased sales for three straight years." Or, "Implementing a new direct sales initiative increased sales 12%, 17% and 28% in a three year time period." Many of us actually do have specific numbers that we can document in our resume, we're just too lazy, or shy, to include them.

DO give comparisons. Again, most people know that we need to use action verbs, like "managed," "led" or "facilitated" in our resume (most resume books include lists of these words if you're not feeling creative). But few people in their resumes provide context to highlight their accomplishments. For example, to list the industry average and then to show how your performance exceeds it. Or to document how your performance compares favorably to your competitors or even within your company. Again, these statistics often take extra work to find, but they'll really pop off your resume for potential employers.

DO ROI. Also known as, return on investment. This is a simple calculation that documents exactly how long it will take for a specific investment to pay for itself. You can use similar calculations to show not only how you helped the bottom line, but how you also have a bottom line thought process. You can't ever expect a potential employer to connect the dots for you, that's why it's so important for you to do it for them. Showing your own personal return on investment is a great way to accomplish this.

DON'T overlook the mission statement. But there is also life beyond just the dollars and cents of business. There is also meeting your company's mission statement and goals. Look for opportunities to show where you were able to align your performance with your company's mission.

Follow these tips with your resume and your toes won't be sticking out of your shoes, they'll be strolling into a great new job.

About The Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via

Thought of the Week

"Reason for leaving last job: maturity leave."


Blog of the Week

Top Five News Headlines

    List of the Week

    from More Resume Quotes…Ouch

    "I have lurnt Word Perfect 6.0 computor and spreasheet progroms."
    "Am a perfectionist and rarely if if ever forget details."
    "Received a plague for Salesperson of the Year."
    "Wholly responsible for two (2) failed financial institutions."
    "Failed bar exam with relatively high grades."


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