Not all resumes are created equal.

It’s a well-known fact that out of 10 resumes that land on recruiters’ desks, about 7 get tossed in the bin immediately.

What is it, then, makes the remaining three resumes worthy of a second look?

  • Is it the design?
  • Is it the layout?
  • Is it the resume’s length?
  • Is it a list of impressive references?
  • Is it the profile section?

You may be surprised to find out that it’s an entirely different factor altogether.

Resumes that grab the attention of recruiters have one thing in common: they contain well-articulated, strong achievements that clearly showcase a candidate’s value.

Unfortunately, most resumes fall quite short of this mark. If you’re like most people, your resume probably contains either a list of dull, poorly written achievements or a list of duties and responsibilities instead.

 

In other words, it’s a generic listicle of what you’ve done, rather than a demonstration of value that you’ve provided.

Typically, achievements are things that you’ve initiated, built, executed or reached. These are quite different from responsibilities that are usually listed under your job description. An achievement is typically unique to your experience – and tells an employer that you have a track record of delivering.

Most importantly, it tells the employer that you’re results-driven and possess the capacity to deliver tangible value to an organisation.

Consider these two examples:

  • “I was responsible for the company’s CRM system.”
  • “I rebuilt the company’s CRM system, resulting in an annual cost saving of $130,000 in admin overheads.”

Which one sounds more enticing to you?

 

What Types Of Achievements Should You Include?

Here are a few guidelines you should follow.

First of all, resume achievements should be quantifiable and relevant to the role. They should succinctly and clearly communicate how you’ve had a positive impact on an employer’s business. Remember to include metrics and percentages to quantify your impact.

By the way, if you’d like a professional resume writer to articulate your achievements, you should take a closer look at bios of our resume writers here.

After your resume is written, to ensure that you can explain your achievements in an interview situation, watch this video:

 

If what you’ve achieved was part of a team, you should still include it – but you should indicate that this was a team effort. For example:

  • “Was part of a high-performance team which won the company’s Sales Team Of The Year award 3 years in a row”.

 

How To Identify Your Best Achievements.

Defining achievements in sales and marketing roles is pretty straightforward – you usually mention the number of leads you’ve brought in or a total amount of revenue you’ve generated.

Other types of roles can be more tricky. I think the best way to show you is through a few real-life examples:

  • “Stayed under budget for 10 years while exceeding targets by 15%”
  • “Have been promoted to COO after only 12 months on the job”
  • Increased customer satisfaction by 15%, beating company target by 200%”
  • “Digitised company’s medical record library of more than 120,000 files 12 months ahead of schedule”
  • “Ran monthly customer events, resulting in 855 NPS rating”
  • “Directed 25 events per year, which resulted in 1030 qualified leads”

I hope that you’re starting to see the pattern.

Do you find yourself getting stuck? Ask a former colleague or a boss for some examples of your achievements. Often, we’re quite bad at recognising our own accomplishments, so an outside perspective can ensure that you don’t neglect to showcase your true value.

 

Irrelevant Achievements.

Alright, so we’ve covered what constitutes as an achievement that is worthy of inclusion on your resume. Before we wrap up, let’s quickly discuss some things don’t qualify as achievements.

Knowing this will help ensure that you don’t waste any precious real estate on your resume on things that are of no significance to potential employers.

First of all, remember that you must tailor your resume to each type of role that you’re applying for. Because of this, you’ll need to omit certain achievements each time you create a different version of your resume.

I suggest that you create a “Master Achievement Document” which contains a comprehensive list of all your achievements. Use this list to cherry-pick the most relevant accomplishments for each job application. Don’t be afraid to omit those that are not relevant.

Finally, remember to list your achievements in the right order – from the most relevant to the least. Relevance, of course, is dictated by the role you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying for a Marketing Manager role, don’t kick off your list of achievements with:

  • “Overhauled the office filing system, which resulted in a 130% efficiency increase within the back office team.”

While that is certainly beneficial to the business, it’s unlikely to be part of a Marketing Manager’s core mandate and will therefore not help you get a job.

 

In Conclusion.

When writing about your achievements on your resume, remember that it’s your opportunity to brag. This is not a time for false humility. Own your successes and let your wins shine through in a way that demonstrates a strong track record of success and a commitment to results.

A failure to clearly and boldly define your achievements will result in a weak, vague, bland resume. And that, in turn, will lead to unimpressed employers.

Great job opportunities attract a lot of candidates. This means, in order to have a fighting chance, you need a great resume.

Thankfully, the Internet is a great resource which can provide you with clear rules for writing a highly effective resume, as well as guidelines for impressing employers with standout achievements.

Those resources will help ensure that the content of your resume clearly communicates how just good you really are.

However, you may also be tempted to do a web search for some resume examples – and paste the contents of those examples straight into your own resume. Imagine the time you could save, right?

Well, maybe.

While using online resume examples to “inspire” your own resume is not necessarily a bad idea, you must know that most resume templates that you’ll find on the Internet are quite substandard – and do not have the power to impress potential employers. They may look fancy, and their wording may seem slick, but they tend to lack in a few important areas.

Which is what this article is all about.

I’m going to walk you through a few resume examples and explain why each one doesn’t work. My aim here is to educate you in aspects of resume writing so that you can make smart decisions about what information to include on your resume.

First, remember that a resume is much more than just a listicle of your job history. To knock employers’ socks off, your resume needs to show how you’re uniquely positioned to solve a specific employer’s set of commercial challenges.

 

Resume Example #1.

Keeping this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the following resume:

resume examples

Now, the resume of an Account Executive must be focused on his/her commercial achievements. An Account Executive is a key driver of revenue for a company; as an employer you’d want to be reassured of his/her ability to work independently while consistently producing results.

The above resume example certainly makes a decent attempt to position the candidate as a standout performer through his achievements. The big problem, however, is the resume’s profile, which immediately positions the candidate as a generic, me-too, unremarkable being.

It’s important to remember that kicking off the resume with  “a personable and trustworthy Account Executive…” is far from optimal.

The reality of the modern job market is that being personable and trustworthy is a minimum requirement for just about any job, including that of an Account Executive. This means that the statement in itself is redundant and a waste of resume space, as well as the reader’s time. It offers the employer no insight into why they should consider Calvin Harris above any other candidate.

A resume like this would be effective in only one instance – when the total number of applicants for this position is extremely low. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to occur in the job market of 2020; most positions attract at least 100 candidates. Some employers report well over 500 applicants per role.

By the way, have you considered hiring one of our resume writers to upgrade your resume? Our resume writing service can supply you with a brand new resume within 7-10 business days.

 

Resume Example #2.

Now, let’s critique another resume example:

resume example

Delia Martin is a General Manager whose resume describes her as “Experienced and self-motivated…”

Now that you know what to look for, it’s likely that you realise that the criticisms which applied to the first resume example apply here, as well.

There’s no such thing as an inexperienced and unmotivated General Manager, so pointing out that she is “experienced and self-motivated is simply an exercise in stating the obvious, while wasting space that could be used to sell Delia’s unique value).

Also, it must be mentioned that this resume does an extremely poor job of communicating Delia’s achievements. It lists her duties (and it does so in a rather generic manner), rather than blowing the socks off employers with razor-sharp achievements.

As a result, this resume pitches Delia at a lower level than a true General Manager; it diminishes her experience sells her short of her true potential.

 

In Conclusion.

Your resume has the power to set your career on an upward trajectory or to keep you stuck in a job you loathe. It’s one of the most important documents you’ll ever own, so make sure you invest the appropriate amount of time and resources into ensuring it’s as effective as it possibly can be.

Using resume examples for inspiration can certainly help you with this, but be aware that most examples you’ll find online are quite substandard, generic and well, boring. Use my critiques above to filter the wheat from the chaff and get yourself a resume which does justice to your career.

Your resume is your personal marketing document.

No business will succeed without a smart marketing strategy that speaks to its target market. By the same token, no job application will succeed in the tough Australian job market without a resume that communicates the candidate’s commercial value to recruiters and employers.

Resume writing is both a skill and an art. As such, it follows a number of fundamental tenets that you can learn in order to immediately increase the strength of your job applications.

When written with these tenets in mind, a resume – combined with smart job search strategies – directly contributes to more interviews, better positions, bigger offers and a faster career transition.

So, what are these resume writing fundamentals? Well, professional resume writers know quite a few – and mastering them all would take years of your time. Thankfully, resume writing, like any skill, follows rules of the Pareto Principle, which asserts that 20% your efforts will account for about 80% of your output’s effectiveness.

 

resume writing rules
Today, I’ll share with you 20% of all resume writing secrets that will make 80% of the difference to your job applications.

 

1. Avoid Making Generic Statements.

For example:

“I am a self-motivated, ambitious person who thrives in dynamic environments…”

Look. I’m sure that you are self-motivated and ambitious. Thing is, your resume is not a place where you list your qualities. It’s a marketing document where you list your competitive advantages.

The difference?

A competitive advantage is a point of differentiation; it’s a reason to hire you instead of another person. In the modern job market, being self-motivated and ambitious are assumed requisites. In other words, no employer would hire an unmotivated, lazy person.

A sentence like this is a waste of precious real estate on your resume and – more importantly – a missed opportunity to provide concrete reasons why you should be considered for employment – above other candidates.

This mistake happens most often in resume summaries (read this guide to see some examples of excellent resume summaries).

 

2. Remove Unnecessary Graphics.

It’s perfectly OK to have some visual design elements on your resume. These can subtly improve the readability while guiding the reader’s eye towards most important parts of your pitch.

However, it’s NOT OK to go overboard with these. I’ve seen resumes that are filled to the brim with what I call “graphics for the sake of graphics” which overwhelm the reader with noisy background patterns, unnecessary graphs and photographs.

Finally, if you’re applying for roles in large and/or ASX-listed companies, keep in mind that graphics in your resume will probably never be seen by anyone other than you.

As soon as you push “apply” on your job application, the employer’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS) will suck your resume in, stripping away all design elements and presenting the recruiter with a simple text version.

 

3. Quantify Your Achievements And Accomplishments.

Your resume must present a story of your career narrative and back it up with hard numbers. Numbers provide empirical proof of your claims and add a necessary layer of credibility to your resume.

Unfortunately, it’s also a key area where most resumes fall short. Here’s what an unquantified resume achievement looks like:

“Improved sales through innovative outreach campaigns.”

A much more impactful, quantified version of the same achievement would look like this:

“Achieved 220% year-over-year sales growth through innovative outreach campaigns.”

 

4. Proofread Five Times To Eliminate Typos And Errors.

Yes, five times. It’s very difficult to catch your own typos within a single round of checks because your eyes are likely to skip over your mistakes.

By the way, an advanced spell checker like Grammarly will eliminate 70% of typos and grammatical issues. As for the rest, I suggest that you follow the following secret proofreading method; it’s used by magazine editors to ensure that their publications remain error-free:

  • Proofread your document on a desktop screen.
  • Ask a friend/colleague to proofread the document.
  • Proofread your document, at least 3 hours later, on a mobile screen.
  • Ask a different friend/colleague to proofread the document.
  • Proofread your document for the final time ( at least 3 hours later again), on a desktop screen.

 

5. Consider Hiring A Professional Resume Writer.

Resume writing can be a time-consuming and often frustrating process. Some people can benefit greatly from a resume writing guide like this; sometimes a few foundational tips is all that’s required to get someone unstuck and moving in the right direction.

That being said, some people are simply not wired to be writers and marketers. They find it impossibly difficult to write about themselves in a positive light and to sell themselves within a few paragraphs.

If that’s you, a professional resume writer can help you find the right wording and make the right impression on employers.

When looking for a professional resume writer to help you write your resume, I suggest that you don’t shop merely on price alone. Ask for resume samples and check reviews to make sure that the resume writer is capable of producing a document that will help you land your dream role.

Once your resume is ready, watch this video to learn how to deploy it as part of a smart job search strategy:

 

 

All the best,

Steven

In a competitive job market, a well-written resume summary is vital to standing out and grabbing the attention of recruiters. This is especially true for managers and executives. Today, I’ll share with you a few resume summary examples that will help you compete in a saturated job market.

At its essence, a resume summary is a sales pitch that demonstrates what you can do for an employer. The best resume summaries demonstrate that your skills and experience can solve a key business problem.

Mid-career professionals should keep the resume summary to a few sentences. Executives, who can expect to compete against a more demanding role criteria – and do so in a smaller pool of candidates, should extend their resume summary to 3-4 succinct paragraphs, or around 200 words.

A strong resume summary reduces the complexity that comes with years of experience down to the most relevant, important points. It compels recruiters to look beyond the summary to read the rest of your resume – and ensures that you make it to the next stage of the recruitment process.

If you want a top-notch resume without any headaches, our professional resume writers can whip one up for you in no time; contact us to learn more. If you’d like to write your own resume, start by following our tips below.

 

1. Understand The Employer’s Pain Point.

A resume summary’s main purpose is to succinctly demonstrate what you can do for the employer.

Every role aims to solve some business or commercial problem, so a good resume summary demonstrates how you have the skills, experience and drive to achieve that.

 

2. Be Specific.

Ensure your resume summary stands out by being specific about details.

Instead of writing ‘I bring extensive experience’, write ‘I bring 20 years’ experience’. Most importantly, address the pre-requisites listed in the job description, particularly relating to the requirementseducation and experience sections.

 

3. Connect Your Value To The Needs Of The Business.

Ensure you stand out from your peers in a crowded job market by clearly articulating your point of difference and how this contributes to solving the employer’s problem.

This could be a particular qualification, a background in another profession or attitudes to leadership. Try to avoid generic phrasing and personalise the summary to reflect key insights specific to you.

 

4. Be Concise.

Remember, you don’t have a lot of time to get the recruiter’s attention. It an environment where recruiters spend about six seconds reviewing a resume, you need to maximise the impact of your summary statement. Keep each sentence within two lines with no more than two clauses.

 

5. Study Resume Summary Examples Below.

To give you a clearer picture of how this all comes together to create a resume summary, please find some examples below.

I’ve included some key requirements from the job advertisement to demonstrate how to keep the summary aligned with business needs, whilst incorporating your core competencies, strengths and point of difference.

 

Example 1: General Manager.

Key requirements from the job description:

  • 10+ years’ experience in a leadership role
  • Excels at strategy and delivery
  • Experience across strategy, marketing, sales, budgeting
  • Cross-functional leadership experience
  • P&L Management
  • Experience in manufacturing, supply chain or distribution
  • Tertiary qualification in business administration

 

Resume Summary:

With 20+ years’ experience leading profitability turnarounds through strategic delivery and operational excellence, I  ensure manufacturing organisations are well-positioned for sustainable growth in the face of high labour costs and shifting market conditions.

Leveraging experience across the value chain, including sales, marketing, budgeting, HR, supply chain and operations, I bring a deep understanding of the productivity levers that influence business performance. Enhanced by a passion for data, I harness the power of business insights to inform strategic decision-making and analyse productivity and performance.

MBA-qualified with a background as an engineer, I bridge corporate and technical agendas to drive product development and ensure deadlines are met in time-critical environments. Combining a high EQ with strong communication skills, I build and lead high-performing multi-disciplinary teams, engaging across business units and diverse stakeholder groups to maximise collaboration and business performance.

Key achievements include transforming XYZ from a loss-making business into a profitable organisation through strict cost control and an uplift in sales performance. At ABC Manufacturing, I increased operational efficiency by 42% through an equipment upgrade and a staff restructure. As GM of XYZ Ltd, I strengthened executive decision-making by deploying a BI system to provide real-time business insights through data visualisation.”

 

Why This Resume Summary Works:

The first paragraph is eye-catching because it establishes credibility ‘20+ years’ experience leading profitability turnarounds’, meets a key job requirement ‘strategic delivery’ and understands what the employer is trying to achieve ‘sustainable growth’. The paragraph is further strengthened by demonstrating an understanding of industry challenges, referring to ‘high labour costs and shifting market conditions.’

The second paragraph illustrates the breadth of the applicant’s experience, ‘ across the value chain’, and how this experience helps meet job objectives ‘understanding of the productivity levers that influence business performance’. Critically, the paragraph illustrates how the applicant’s unique attribute, ‘a passion for data’, gives them the edge in achieving business objectives ‘harness the power of business insights to inform strategic decision-making and analyse productivity and performance’.

The third paragraph continues on this thread, highlighting how the candidate’s engineering background helps strengthen delivery outcomes ‘drive product development and ensure deadlines are met’. It then rounds out the candidate’s skill set by highlighting softer skills ‘high EQ and strong communication skills’ and leadership capability.

The fourth paragraph is comprised of three key achievements, carefully selected to support the claims listed in the resume summary. Note that they are both concise and specific, containing quantifiable data where possible.

 

Example 2: Sales Director.

Key requirements from the job description:

  • 10+ years’ experience in sales and management
  • Builds and maintains good customer relationships
  • Proven success exceeding targets and goals
  • Strong leadership, managerial and organisational skills
  • Robust negotiation and influencing skills

 

Resume Summary:

Combining diverse sector experience and 15+ years in sales leadership roles, I bring a track record transforming underperforming sales teams to deliver significant upturns in revenue, enabling businesses to meet growth objectives.

Benefitting from legal training, I bring a logical, persuasive negotiating style to engage prospects and deliver high sales conversion rates. Structured and detail-oriented, I build sales management processes, procedures and systems from the ground up, empowering sales teams the right tools to optimise performance. Focused on building capability in teams, I create accountable but supportive cultures, driven to meet and exceed targets.

Highly adaptable, I bring a breadth of experience from start-up to large corporate environments. Able to get to the crux a product or service’s core value within the broader context of market dynamics, I develop solution-focused sales strategies that directly address customer pain points and create compelling propositions.

Career highlights include increasing revenue performance by 85% at AB Inc. by winning the largest sales deal in the company’s history with its largest customer. At EFG Ltd, I led a turnaround of legacy underperformance by professionalising the sales team, and negotiated a multi-year, multimillion-dollar commercial agreement with an enterprise client at CDE.”

 

Why This Resume Summary Works:

Again, the first paragraph establishes the applicant’s credentials, ‘diverse sector experience and 15+ years in sales leadership roles.’ It also moves straight to illustrating the applicant’s ability to meeting a commercial need, ‘deliver significant upturns in revenue, enabling businesses to meet growth objectives.’

The second paragraph starts with the applicant’s legal training, a unique skill as a sales leader, which has influenced a ‘logical, persuasive negotiating style’ and a ‘structured, detail-oriented’ management approach. This demonstrates the candidate’s ability to ‘exceed targets and goals’ and provide ‘strong leadership, managerial and organisational skills’ – all key criteria listed in the job ad.

The third paragraph highlights the applicant’s agility from a breadth of experience ‘from start-up to large corporate environments.’ It then moves on to how this experience that strengthens analytical and strategic capability, developing ‘solution-focused sales strategies that directly address customer pain points and create compelling propositions.’

 

Example 3: HR Director.

Key requirements from the job description:

  • 5+ years’ experience in HR leadership roles
  • AHRI or equivalent certified
  • Ability to architect strategy around people and culture
  • Customer-focused
  • Experience in L&D, talent management and succession planning

 

Resume Summary:

With 10 years’ experience delivering HR strategies that create customer-focused cultures in large, complex businesses, I enable organisations to pivot in line with rapidly shifting customer requirements, contributing to long-term, sustainable success.

An AHRI member with strong vertical experience in HR and a background in the retail and hospitality sectors, I work to instil a customer-first mindset at all levels of an organisation. Highly strategic with a commercial outlook from an early career in marketing, I look beyond my direct realm of influence to define and implement strategies that not only optimise employee and customer experience but contribute to improved commercial outcomes.

A qualified psychologist, I utilise a deep understanding of human behaviour to inform strategic HR development, identify talent and obtain buy-in for change initiatives. Driven to make a positive impact on people’s lives, I find deep, personal satisfaction in helping co-workers achieve their career goals by creating and delivering learning and development initiatives, developing talent pipelines and succession plans and championing talent.

Career highlights include defining and delivering a workforce strategy at NOP Ltd to align the customer team with a new group strategy. At BCD, I built a talent pipeline and training program to enable an aggressive retail expansion across the eastern seaboard and led the deployment of an HRIS system to automate various HR processes, reducing the time taken to produce reports by three days.”

 

Why This Resume Summary Works:

The first two paragraphs establish leadership and industry credibility by highlighting the applicant’s ’10 years’ experience delivering HR strategies’ and AHRI membership. More importantly, they link HR outcomes to business success, connecting ‘employee and customer experience’ to ‘improved commercial outcomes’.

The third paragraph positions the applicant’s psychology qualifications as a unique advantage in developing HR strategies and driving change. In line with the job ad, It then fleshes out the applicant’s skill set around L&D whilst elevating the summary with a sense of personal conviction ‘I find deep, personal satisfaction in helping co-workers achieve their career goals’.

 

In Conclusion.

Writing a good resume summary is definitely not easy (trust me, we should know). I hope these resume summary examples can help you write a summary that best reflects your unique value and personal brand.

As a reminder, if you are still daunted by the prospect of writing your own resume summary, but want to put your best foot forward, consider using our resume writing service. We’ll help you navigate a competitive job landscape to reach the next stage of your career.