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Blow Your Own Horn

Show prospective employers what you’ve done.

As a career consultant/counselor, I have seen over 500 resumes in my career, if not more. Years ago, it was important to have a resume that listed job descriptions; to this day many job candidates have a long list of job duties to show employers what they did or are doing. A resume should not be just a list of job duties. What employers want today is results. A resume that showcases your strengths allows employers the opportunity to see how you can add ROI to their business goals and objectives.

Susan Whitcomb, author of “Resume Magic,” refers to a survey that was published in the book “The 100 Best Companies to Work For.” This survey was sent to human-resources executives in major companies. Out of all the variables being measured, there was some variability among what human-resources executives felt should be on a resume.

There was one variable that had the most significant agreement among HR professionals: 88 percent agreed that verifiable accomplishments should always be included on a resume.

Here’s an example:

Before: Implemented manufacturing software.

After: Boosted plant yields 11 percent through implementation of computer-aided manufacturing software.

Here’s another:

Before: Managed software development team; oversaw product development.

After: Served as project manager of software development team; produced product yielding 50 percent decrease in coding errors and delivered improved product two days under deadline.

I’ve found that a lot of my clients many don’t remember their accomplishments. For clients who have trouble remembering their accomplishments, there are some places where you can find this information. Today, every employee must be a manager of their own career, so the following list is given to you in an attempt to help you manage data that can be used as you develop your resume.

Here’s what you should keep:

* Performance evaluations

* Notes from thankful customers on a service you provided

* Notes from your boss on a job well done

* Any mention of accomplishments in departmental or company newsletters

* Examples of work you have developed (handbooks, brochures, etc.)

The time to collect this data is not five years after you have left a company. No, the time to collect this information is now. Get a folder and begin to start collecting this information and place it in a secure place where you know you can find it.

Many times if an employee experiences a layoff or firing, they may not have time to collect such data. So do yourself a favor, and begin to file your accomplishments today. Don’t depend on your memory or recall, but begin collecting tangible information that will help you create an A+ resume because you can list your accomplishments.

Here are some questions that I ask my technical clients to help jog their memories:

* Did a product you worked on increase productivity or efficiency?

* Did you assume a leadership role although your title may not have reflected it?

* Did any projects you worked on save the company money?

* Did you contract with a company for a special project; if so, what was the impact of that project to the company?

As you answer these questions, you should start being able to develop an A+ resume full of accomplishments that validate to employers when they hire you; they will get a return on their investment in you as their new employee.

Of course, make sure the information you provide is truthful. In your eagerness to present yourself as the one that must be called for an interview, resist the urge to embellish. Remember that your references will likely be checked. If you’re not sure how much information representing your accomplishments should be on the resume, contact a trusted friend or a career coach.

In a results-oriented society, a resume that exemplifies positive work competencies should at least garner the coveted interview.

Felicia H. Vaughn, M.Ed. (, is a certified career management coach. She works as a career consultant for REA Career Services Inc. and is COO of VaughnElite Corp.

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