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Do Your Next Boss a Huge Favor

20 April 2010 Written by: Jeannette Kraar 2 Comments
Do Your Next Boss a Huge Favor

When filling any position a hiring manager’s biggest headache (or pain in the ass depending upon your point of view) is finding the right set of “potential” candidates to begin the interview process. After getting a pile of resumes, they have to trudge through them figuring out what these characters bring to the table.  I’m sure every hiring manager wishes and prays for the applicant that does tells them, “Here’s why you should hire me.”  Note this statement carefully.  It’s “Here’s why you should hire me” not “Here’s why I want to work for you.”

There’s a difference here.  Read your typical resume and what you’ll find is a list of former jobs followed by a bulleted list responsibilities for each one.  For example, I read the following under the Director of Operations title:

“Carried out manufacturing floor operational responsibilities overseeing 12 supervisors and running quality assurance functions.”

I’m mean like, duh.  Operations Directors do that kind of stuff. Otherwise you’d be the Finance Director or HR Director or Marketing Director.  Of course you need to make sure your reader understands what you did, but your main focus must be telling the reader about your accomplished. 

Here are the kind of bullets I’m sure your next boss prefers when looking over your resume:

  • Increased sales from $1M to $1.7M over an 18 month period.
  • Outsold every fellow sales rep 4 out of 12 months and consistently ranked in the top 10%.
  • Improved plant floor efficiency increasing production capabilities by 7.5% over six months while maintaining high quality levels. 
  • Improved team moral ratings from 50% to 72% during my first 12 months in the position.

When your next boss read bullets like these on your resume, they start picturing how the person can help then in the position they are needing filled.

Now I completely understand your apprehension.  Coming up with these kinds of facts for your resume is no walk in the park.  It’s work.  This is especially true:

  • if what you did isn’t easily measured,
  • if you’re changing industries and accomplishments in your former industry aren’t easy to explain to those on the outside and
  • if you never spent much time thinking about your work this way.

Here’s my challenge to you.  Take just one position on your resume and dissect it.  For each bullet put a check mark next to each ones that describe an accomplishment.  Put an “X” next to each one that describes a job responsibility.  If you have more “X”s than checks, you have some work to do.  You’re better off making it 75% check marks.

If you dedicate some time to reviewing what you did on any job, you’ll run into a problem that’s common for many of us.  We’ve done what we do and done it well for so long, we don’t consider it a big deal.  Well it just might be and you’d better be able to tell people why it was a big deal. 

I’ll give you the example from one of my clients.  This guy ran an IT department.  One of his many tasks was moving the firm’s data center from their corporate offices to an outsourced data center.  It took the team he led six months of planning and execution to get the job done.  When it was over, his users experienced zero downtime and they pulled the project off under budget. 

For all of his work, this guy was surprised that his boss was most impressed with the fact that he didn’t exceed his budget.  His supervisor had never seen an IT project of that magnitude get delivered on the originally projected budget.

My client thought that was the least of his accomplishments.  He considered that the basic part of his job.  My response to him was,

“If you boss was that impressed, it goes on your resume.” 

So that made it on his resume as follows:

  • Delivered a six-month, $750K data center migration project on time, under budget and with zero user downtime.

Now I’m not in IT, but here is a measurable accomplishment even I understand.  I can read an accomplishment like this on a resume and envision how this guy might be able to help me with my problems.

So take a look at your resume, and do your next boss a favor.  Make it high on accomplishment and low on job responsibilities so the boss doesn’t have to work so hard.

Let me know how this made a difference on your resume.

Jeannette Kraar is President and CEO of Performance Management International, LLC is a highly-acclaimed business consultant, coach, entrepreneur, speaker and author of Breakthrough: I Hate My Job, Need a Life, Can't Get No Satisfaction Solution. Her expertise draws on 25 years of practical experience in corporate management, human research and training and development. I've been lucky to have known her these past years in both our endeavors to help the unemployed.

You can learn so much about this author by clicking here.


  • Mary K Parker said:

    I absolutely love that bullet: Delivered a six-month, $750K data center migration project on time, under budget and with zero user downtime.

    It has action, it has numbers, and it has that wonderful “triple play” for “on time”, “under budget”, “with zero user downtime.” It’s almost poetry. Thanks for a super example—I’d love to see more bullets from other industries that meet this standard!

  • uberVU - social comments said:

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by CareerJockey: Your future boss called. He wants you to fix your resume. http://ow.ly/1xVXH

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