Your resume has to do more than provide a hiring manager a job and education history. It must capture attention during the first pass, whether the screener is human or machine, and then sell you as the most desirable candidate on subsequent reviews. Hiring managers and recruiters will skim, with attention waning after the top third of the resume, while applicant tracking system (ATS) software looks for key terms, to remove unqualified applicants. There are many ways to make your resume stand out. Today, we focus on how to make your accomplishments pop for maximum impact.
Responsibilities vs. Accomplishments
When documenting experience, it’s tempting to list the daily tasks or responsibilities for that job. Boring! We’ve even heard of candidates pulling them directly from job descriptions. One problem with that is the hiring manager already knows the responsibilities associated to related jobs. A bigger issue is that it doesn’t say anything about you! Detailing what you accomplished while in a role forms a picture of what type of employee you are for the employer.
Instead of: Maintained and recorded flowsheets of patient condition
Try this: Earned consistent top ratings on annual performance evaluations for thorough and accurate documentation
Quantify with Stats
Including numbers in your resume works to your advantage in a couple ways. First, a smattering of numbers visually breaks up the text of a resume, drawing eyes to them when scanning. Getting a screener to stop and read one or more of your accomplishments can help you avoid the “86” pile and might even elevate your standing early in the process. Second, if you can quantify the result of your accomplishments, hiring managers can see exactly what you bring to the organization.
Instead of: Implemented a time-saving process for nurses
Try this: Reduced overtime by 5% by eliminating a manual process for nurses
Adding the number substantiates your assertion that it was a time-saving process and shows you have a big picture understanding of the work you do.
Not every accomplishment can or should be quantified. Use only the ones that pack a punch and will clearly establish what you can do and the value you bring. Consult this infographic if you are struggling to figure out how to work in the numbers.
Get More Action with Action Words
Increased, reduced, enhanced, expanded, designed, and grew are some of the words you’ll see on the most powerful resumes. Action verbs are the first step in crafting a substantial statement of accomplishment. They have more impact, make for easy skimming, and will help you keep your bullets concise. Since you are trying to convince someone to offer you a job, you need to pick strong verbs that let readers picture you in the role.
Instead of: New staff liaison
Try this: Mentored 12 new acute care staff members
Another way you can set yourself apart from other applicants with action words is to add a little variety to the action words you use. Keep employers engaged and they are more likely to move you on to an interview.
Whether you’re writing your first resume or updating a well-worn version, follow these tips to showcase your accomplishments for prospective employers and separate yourself from the pack.
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