Writing a resume is both simple and difficult. It’s simple because, after all, it’s just a timeline of your employment history with a couple accomplishments bulletpointed under the job description. It’s difficult because it’s not so easy (how’s that for being stupidly obvious).
Looking at a couple of resumes the other day, one observation stood out. Both resumes had the accomplishments wrong.
One of the resumes was 4 pages long. At some point, when I have time; I’ll probably deconstruct it for you – once I’ve redacted all the personal information. Of course, it does feel weird to do that – like I’m invading someone’s privacy. So, I may not actually do it. Don’t know, need to think about it more.
But back to my point…
Both resumes basically had:
Sales Manager, ACME Coyote, Inc. 1/88 to 9/97
Managed 6 sales representatives overseeing 435 accounts representing annual gross sales of $3.4million. Called on 6 Key accounts.Â Responsible for all training and logistic support to sales representatives.Â Also responsible to inplement all company marketing programs and interacting with supplier representatives.
- Trained and motivated 6 sales representatives
- Provided outstanding leadership in executing all marketing programs
- Efficient use of promotional and sales POP/POS resulted in significant savings to company
- Increased sales representatives’ productivity by systemically realigning sales territories
- Generated greater sales revenue by proactively sourcing superior products from supplier representatives
- Guided sales team to number one in sales increase from 1/95 to 1/97
Of course, I made all that on the fly, so it probably sounds absurd to you – I understand.
But I wanted to make a point. And the point is…
The accomplishments you list under your job description cannot be more job descriptions. And that is the mistake that I see on a lot of resumes
The writer gets the format correct – job description with accomplishments bulletpointed below. Except it’s not accomplishments – it’s more job descriptions. One of the resumes listed 3 jobs, spread out over 2 pages. For all 3 jobs, the writer listed 10 to 12 bullet points of – yes you guessed it – job descriptions.
On the other resume, the writer listed 4 jobs. On this one though, the writer simply listed the job and underneath bulletpointed about 7 to 8 job descriptions.
You don’t write a generic job description followed by a list of specific job description.
In my humble opinion…
You write a brief job description so that you and the reader are on the same sheet of music as to what you did. After all, a marketing manager with ACME Coyote may not be the same as a marketing manager with Road Runner Enterprises. So, the brief job description.
After the job description, list 3 or 4 (no more) of the most important accomplishments that you, and only you, could have done. The accomplishments must be uniquely you and no one else but you.
“Help increase sales by stealing market share from competition” doesn’t really say much and would have no place in my resume. How about on your’s?
I think a more effective job description might be:
Sales Manager, ACME Coyote, Inc. 1/88 to 9/97
Managed $3.4 million sales team of 6 reps and 435 accounts. Operated team as complete profit loss unit; taking responsibility for utilizing all profit levers to deliver maximum revenue to company.
- Increased gross profit margin from 19.2% to 20.6%, resulting in a net gain of $48K in FY97, by minimizing waste while winning 26 new accounts from competiton.
- Over 4 year period, 4 sales representatives promoted to higher positions, resulting from personal coaching, training, and mentoring.
- Overhauled and realigned 6 sales territory resulting in gross sales increasing from $2.8 million to $3.4 million.
Is that a good one – maybe – maybe not – again, just some stuff off the top of my head.
By the way, something like that would be the first run. It’s too wordy, I think. I would rinse it once or twice more to get it down to the absolute minimum words necessary
Here’s the thing though, I wanted to make each bullet point unique to me versus what a sales manager does. Did I succeed? Only a call for job interview can answer that.
As you write your accomplishments though; I want you to critically think about whether you are writing a more, detailed job description, or an accomplishment that only you could have done.
Because if it’s only what you could have done, then by extension; it is only something you could do for your new company.
That’s the selling point!
And that’s why writing a resume is both simple and difficult.
PS – and this was suppose to be a quick and dirty – sorry it got so wordy.