Write your resume to highlight your unique skills by writing better job bullets.
Strategy #1: Omit Generic Job Duties
You already gave general job duties in your summary of this job, if you needed one. If you didn’t need one, your job duties are clear from your job title.
So make sure your bulleted points do not contain any generic job duties.
This section should reveal your accomplishments, not describe your job. So instead concentrate on accomplishments and achievements rather than on your job duties.
You don’t want to sound like you accomplished nothing special; you just did your job.
Employers are concerned about one thing—how an employee can contribute to their bottom line. A powerfully written resume conveys how a candidate can be an asset to the company’s profits and productivity.
If you worked as a waiter, a common bullet point might be “Took tables’ orders.” However, this tells your prospective employer nothing other than you were a waiter, and you already said that.
Everyone knows what a waiter does, but what the prospective employer doesn’t know is what you did as a waiter, what value you brought to the company.
So delete any of your bullets that are just generic job descriptions.
Strategy #2: Begin Every Accomplishment Statement with a Powerful Action Verb
This is a whole blog by itself. I will link to it when I post it.
Strategy #3: Show the 3–5 most important Needed Skills
List the skills
You have to prove you are the right candidate for the job, so make a list of all the needed skills for that job: leadership, teamwork, management, self-motivated, willingness to learn, good communicator, good customer service skills, organized, a great critical thinker, etc.
Show those skills
Now, that you have the skills written down, you need to make sure you show them in your job description through short, unique stories.
You learned how to do this in the show don’t tell blog, but I will review the concept further here.
Let’s say you worked at Burger King. You may think there isn’t much to say about your job, but there could be if you were the type of worker people want.
If it is important to be self-motivated and driven in the job you want, then think how you can show that through your Burger King experience.
What did you do to show you are motivated and self-driven?
Go through each skill you wrote down and ask yourself, How can I show this skill at this job?
If you can think of more than one for that skill, put them both down. If you can’t think of one for that skill for this particular job, then move on. You might be able to show that skill in a different job.
Do that for each job and start writing stories for your bullet points.
Balance the skills
Take a look at your job descriptions and make sure you have a balance of all the skills you need to highlight.
Next to each bullet point, write down what skill is highlighted: Leadership, management, teamwork, etc.
If you have too many relating to communication skills and not enough related to teamwork, then delete some of them relating to communication and add more bullet points related to teamwork.
The idea is to make sure each skill is represented. That doesn’t mean one skill can’t have more bullets than the other. It is fine if communication has only two whereas leadership has three.
You just want to make sure each one is given proper attention.
Strategy #4: Add in Resulting Statements
Now that you have showing statements, you want to pick a few of them to add in resulting statements.
Ah both of these employees told some great stories that yielded great results. Now who doesn’t want to hire an employee with skills that get results?
Strategy #5: Ensure 5 or Less Bullets for Each Job
Make sure you have only five or less bulleted points for each job. If you have any job with more bullet points than you need, then delete the excess.
To help you decide what to delete, remember to keep a balance of important skills you need to highlight and remember you want to align with the company’s values and mission statement and prove you are the right candidate.
So keep only the ones that are the most important in showing the wide range of skills and aligning to the job of your dreams.
If this is hard for you, you could take some of your bullets that you want to keep and add them to the summary before the bulleted list if you have one.
The idea is to show you are the right person for the job by highlighting your unique accomplishments that match the skills the prospective employer is looking for. Compare these two resumes, and see how version two does a better job selling the individual.
Katie Chambers, owner of Beacon Point, is a nonfiction and fiction substantive (developmental) editor and copy editor for independent authors, content writer and editor for business professionals, and online teacher and tutor.
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