Here’s a little thing I learned from working on hundreds — at this point probably thousands — of MBA recruiting resumes.
The top 1% of resumes for the top 1% of jobs in the most competitive industries, such as investment banking and strategy consulting, all focus on specific accomplishments over job descriptions.
It’s so competitive, they have no choice but to compete on actual value and impact.
There’s no reason this approach can’t be applied to all jobs, in all industries, at all levels.
The underlying philosophy is simple. It’s about focusing on the impact you have had … in anything you have done.
What did you achieve for your employers? How did you add value to your clients? How did you help people in your network or community?
So this is Rule #1, and the only rule. Well, OK, it’s a two part rule:
Write every single sentence or bullet point in an ACTION X led to RESULT Y format.
Support your claim with data and numbers; in other words, quantify the result.
Let me demonstrate …
So remember … it’s always about impact. Whether you are a banker or a line cook, it should always be about impact. Did you do something faster? Better? Did you help cut costs, increase revenues, raise funds, build relationships, manage staff?
Here are some specific examples for different types of work.
Project Management – Completed all project milestones 30 days ahead of schedule saving the organization 20% in expenditures.
Customer Service – Resolved 92% of customer complaints on the first call resulting in a 11% increase in Consumer Satisfaction Index (CSI) scores.
Digital Media – Ran a tight multi-platform social media campaign resulting in a 35% increase in page visits, a 10% increase in average time on site, and a 3% increase in clickthrough rate.
Marketing – Developed a sales and marketing strategy for a brand with the potential to increase global revenue from $29 million to $50 million within two years.
Finance/Accounting – Successfully implemented restructuring initiatives leading to a 10% decrease in COGS from $683 million to $613 million, and a 10% increase in operating margin.
Now, I hear you say … but what if I was in a non-profit job or in a non-numbers oriented line of work? Still works.
Non-profit — Wrote 24+ grant proposals, and helped raise $120,000 per fiscal year over 5 years; organizations included the Gates Foundation.
International development — Provided strategic direction to the government of Mozambique in the development of a US $1.2 billion HIV prevention plan.
HR — Implemented new policies for a better work-life balance for staff, leading to a 10% decrease in employee turnover.
If you’d like to see more examples check out our 200+ RESUME BULLET EXAMPLES. We’ve broken it down by industry and functional roles.
“But I haven’t done that!”
OK, so now you are convinced that it can be done. But you are thinking “but I haven’t done that!” As in “me personally … I haven’t done things like that”
Trust me, you have! Everyone has. They just don’t know it. Either you have never thought of your work like this, or you don’t know where to get the numbers and how to quantify. We can help you with that.
Sometimes people struggle to see their own impact, or have not really thought about their work history in those terms. But if you took a minute to think about it, you’d be amazed.
You have accomplished many definable things for your past employers, clients, and others. You have probably done many good things in your community or for teams you have been part of.
So, take a minute and look over each sentence on your resume and start thinking like this. In any event a focus on value and impact is what will make your resume not just a good one but the one that cinches the interview.
Because let’s face it, nowadays everyone has a good resume, especially if they’ve used the services of a professional resume writer. You need something more. And this is that ‘more.’