Quick Resume Tip #242: Focus On Accomplishments
In order to create the strongest resume possible you will need to identify, articulate and quantify key accomplishments you have had in the past. These accomplishment narratives are important for your job search. They are the building blocks of everything you do in your job search — from writing your resume, to interviewing, to negotiating for a higher salary. Your accomplishment narratives show a prospective employer what you are capable of and willing to do for them. They focus on the ROI (Return On Investment) that your new employer can expect when they hire you.
The tool that we most often recommend for identifying key accomplishments and showing your ROI is the CARS process (Condition Activity Resolution Statement). The first three steps in the CARS process are only for you. That is, they will not be shared with anyone unless you decide to share them. The fourth step is the piece you will share with others.
Here’s how the CARS statements work:
First you identify a specific CONDITION (problem, situation, need) you worked on in a prior job or career position. Simply describe the need or the project you worked on. What was happening that needed your attention? Why was it important to your company? What would have happened if you did nothing? Whenever possible, use numbers to define the scope of the situation. Write two or three bullet points to identify the condition you encountered.
Second you describe the ACTIVITY or ACTION you took to address this condition. What did you do to address the problem? List steps you took. Identify tools or processes you used. Don’t worry about being too detailed here. Remember, this step is just for you. It doesn’t go on your resume. In a few bullet points describe the activity or action you took.
Third you describe the RESOLUTION that came about as a result of your actions. What happened? Be sure to use quantifiable results – how much money did you make or save? How many people were involved? How much time was saved? How did you reduce waste or increase efficiencies? One or two bullets ought to do it.
Finally, you will write a STATEMENT that shows the impact of the action you took. Write one or two sentences that pull together the 5-9 bullet points in the first three steps. These two sentences should bring all of your points together in a concise statement. A simple format for this is: “did what”, “for whom”, “resulting in . . . “ Be sure to use numbers to show how the results were measured. This is important because managers use numbers to measure the success or failure of just about ANY business activity. When you quantify your results you are speaking their language, and that is more likely to lead to an interview for you! Numbers make the accomplishment “pop” off the page. They allow you to stand out among the competition.
We recommend you come up with 12-15 CAR Statements. Use different times, jobs, and situations to show a variety from throughout your work history.