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Executive Resume Results through Accomplishments

by Kim on February 17, 2015

There may come a point in your job search when you have to face reality, and if this word alone makes you flinch a bit, you may instinctively know that this is something you need to do, as painful as it may be.

It’s a proven fact, that the longer you remain unemployed, the harder it will be to find a new position, much less one that pays as well as your old job or provides the type of challenges you’re used to. It’s also understandable that the frustration can mount every day while you wonder what is wrong with you or why your previous accomplished background has been ignored for so long. This frustration can turn to anger, depression, blame and and giving up, which just leads to a vicious cycle of rejection that you can’t seem to shake.

If you’ve reached this point, there are a few things you can do to help turn things around once you realize that what you’re doing now is just not working, and one of the first things you need to do is to find an experienced executive resume writer to assess your resume. In my twenty years of working with under or unemployed executives, I’ve found that most people assume that as long as their resume includes a steady job history and required skills, they should be all set.  I’ve had people tell me that their resume is “just fine,” despite the fact that they haven’t received a single interview in months, even after sending out hundreds of resumes.

I’ve reviewed thousands of executive resumes over the years, and frankly, there have been very few that have not needed much work in terms of improvement. And yet, some of the worst resumes I’ve reviewed have been defended by the same people who experience zero interest or momentum during their search, hence the inability to face necessary their own reality.

The most ineffective resumes I see are ones focus only on duties, not accomplishments. Yet, when I point this out to clients or potential clients, their back rears up, as they talk about their long-standing role at one company or laud the fact that the resume has “always worked before.” Well, sure, twenty years ago, that resume possibly did work, but resumes have changed so much over the years that an outdated resume approach is not going to cut it.

Today’s executive resumes need to be well written, informative and accomplishment based. Sure, it is important that your resume conveys your skill sets and what you “did,” but it’s even more important that your resume showcasess what you contributed. Anyone can claim that they have skills in marketing, technology, finance, sales, etc., but unless you PROVE those skills through measurable results, those skills mean nothing to the reader.

Let’s look at the examples below – the first is from what I call a passive resume.

  • Analyzed large data sets collected through observatories and satellites.
  • Prepared reports on research findings.
  • Gathered data to aid in navigation, satellite technology and space exploration.
  • Worked on research project funded by grants.
  • Wrote grant proposals.
  • Traveled to remote locations and often worked at night for better observation conditions.
  • Assisted in the development of computer software to analyze data.
  • Analyzed astronomical and physical data through complex mathematical calculations

When you read this, what does it tell you other than this person performed these functions? Not much. How well did this person executive these activities? What were the results of their duties?

Now take a look at the below example that focuses on achievements.

  • Directly impacted overall office performance by creating company’s first formal policies and procedures including process and systems for A/R, HR policies, client management, report generation and list management.
  • Shaved valuable time spent on sanitizing exhaustive lists by collaborating with consultants, internal data analyst and IT consulting firm on revisions of entire list management process.
  • Slashed outsourcing expenses by 50% by transitioning from use of outside contractor to in-house monthly production of CDs.
  • Augmented sales resulting from routine email ‘blasts’ by instituting weekly data mining activities to strengthen database and increase data records by 5%; prospect list grew by 300% during tenure.
  • Streamlined master database and enabled more efficient penetration of target markets by working with IT consulting firm to categorize master database.
  • Reduced monthly expenses by 10% by personally leading negotiations for new contract with external data analysts.
  • Recognized as “go to” person for all software and hardware related issues including recommendation for client management software applications to address rapid company growth.

Do you see the difference? By taking your resume to the next level through achievements, you are immediately demonstrating to readers that you are able to produce results, take initiative and make a difference to the bottom line.

I’ve seen many frustrated job seekers turn their interviewing opportunities around by using my results-driven resumes, and you can do the same once you can admit that whatever you’ve been doing in the past is just not working.

Granted, there are also a number of things you need to do if your job search has stalled in addition to a resume transformation. You should get back to keeping a regular routine, develop a list of the positive traits that you offer, use some of that free time to volunteer and/or engage in professional development while reexamining (and contacting) your network. Additionally, you have to try to shift your reality and negativism into a mindset which understands that there are things out of your control, such as the time you’ve spent being unemployed.

Once you embrace this new philosophy, you can motivate yourself ready to start over and take the steps needed back to gainful employment, even if that means a dip in salary or relocation.  Remember, you are the only one in control of your new career destiny, and you can make it happen once your expectations are realistic and refocused. .

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