Archive for October, 2010

Tips for Writing a VALUE DRIVEN RESUME

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Employers want to know more than where you worked and what your job duties were. When they review your resume, they want to know if you are worth the investment they will have to make if they offer you a job. To put it more concisely, they want to know what VALUE you will bring to them.

Alas, most people write resumes that read like job descriptions or, worse, obituaries. Here’s an example from a resume that recently crossed my desk:

Store Manager, ABC Supercenter – Denver, CO (2002 to Present)

  • Managed retail store and supervised employees.
  • Responsible for day to day operations of the ABC Supercenter store.
  • Responsible for maximizing store sales and profitability while working ethically and modeling ABC core values.
  • Develop strategies and objectives and leading [sic] a team of Associates in executing these strategies.
  • Ensure that the store is stocked with merchandise and that all Customers are provided with excellent customer service.
  • As the Store Manager, must have a comprehensive knowledge of the business, be able to use this knowledge to formulate goals and objectives, and be capable of motivating Self, Associates and others to work as a team and accomplish these goals and objectives.
  • Capable of giving directions to Associates, Department Supervisors, and Assistant Store Managers.

How to Turn This Around & Make it Value Driven

The resume goes on with a total of 15 additional and equally mundane bullets, but you get the point. Let’s focus on the value (or lack thereof) that this resume conveys. Every employer who will receive this document already knows that a retail store manager is responsible for maximizing store sales and profitability while working ethically… etc., etc., etc. What the reader wants to know is, what difference did this store manager make in her previous position? What VALUE did she bring to her job? Below is an example of how this dull, predictable, and boring resume can be transformed into something that is value driven.

Store Manager, ABC Supercenter – Denver, CO (2002 to Present)

Recruited to this position by a corporate vice president. Oversee all operations for a 10,000 square foot retail outlet, with full P&L responsibility for budgeting, strategic planning, sales, cost controls, shrink control, inventory control, team leadership, community relations, and the direct and indirect supervision and training of up to 500 employees.

NOTE that this job description is to-the-point and QUANTIFIES the scope of her responsibility by indicating the size of the location she manages and the number of employees she oversees. It is also succinct in summarizing her overall responsibilities. Below is a bulleted list that further quantifies specific above-and-beyond achievements. In short, it demonstrates her VALUE to a prospective employer:

  • Challenge: Took over a store that wasn’t meeting budget and profit requirements. Action: Re-evaluated employees and launched a comprehensive re-staffing and re-training program at all levels. Also took the initiative to conduct hands-on staff training with selected supervisors to improve customer satisfaction. Impact: Brought the store from 15% behind to exceeding budgetary, profit, and customer service goals by as much as 40% within just six months.
  • Reduced the turnover of management personnel by 22% and mentored nine hourly personnel into management positions.
  • Selected to serve on a corporate strategic planning committee to identify areas for growth. Played a key role in selecting locations and setting up operations for three new stores. Put new store managers in place and acted as the corporate troubleshooter for any issues. All three stores exceeded expectations within the first two years.

Bullets & Metrics

Observe the strategic use of bullets. Resume writer Donald Asher has dubbed resumes written in an entirely bulleted format as “Teflon coated resumes.” By that he means that, while a bullet is designed to make something stand out, if everything is bulleted nothing stands out. Just as with Teflon, a resume that is entirely bulleted just doesn’t stick.

So for a value driven resume, write paragraphs with strong, concise job descriptions that indicate the scope of your responsibilities without getting bogged down with minutiae. Then bullet your achievements that go above and beyond the job descriptions.

And remember: QUANTIFY, QUANTIFY, QUANTIFY. If your improvements reduced turnover, indicate how much. If you saved money, tell the reader how you did it and how much you saved (percentages are usually better than dollar figures). If you implemented a program to improve customer service, give the metrics to prove it worked. If you improved processes to boost efficiency, explain what the problem was, what you did to improve things, and what the results were, including the time/money saved. If you resolved a problem, explain the difference it made to the company (i.e., “…saving a $2 million account from defecting to the competition”).

A strong, action packed, value driven document is far more likely to result in a call for an interview than a tedious list of responsibilities. When employers read your resume, they are looking for value. Make sure you give it to them.

~ Anne Follis, Certified Professional Resume Writer

© Copyright 2011, Anne Follis. All rights reserved.

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