Before you write a word of your new résumé, make certain that you understand its primary purpose: to demonstrate your ability to contribute to the bottom line of the company or organization you seek to join. You best do this when you begin each bullet point with an active verb that paints a vibrant picture of what you did, and couple it with the results you attained.
You might respond: "But I haven't been in sales, or marketing or management. I just do XX, and don't have any idea how to relate that to the bottom line." That might be so, but there is more to building a bottom line than sales and management. When you make processes run smoothly, avert or reduce costs or increase productivity, you add value to your company.
Here are some verbs favored by résumé writers, supplemented with questions to spur your thinking about how they might relate to what you have done. You can easily find expanded lists of such verbs, along with résumé templates. However, they only have value for you if you use them to relate your unique story. Don't risk being seen as a cookie cutter candidate, indistinguishable from all the other people who are using these same kinds of sources.
1. Catapult. Perhaps you have been involved with launching a new product or service, or done something that has dramatically moved your organization forward.
2. Commercialize. Have you somehow been involved with turning knowledge about some thing or process into creating a product or service? Have you figured out how to charge money for something that up to that point had been free?
3. Maximize. Have you somehow increased the size and scale of widget production? Have you maximized the number of widgets produced with the same raw materials, thereby decreasing costs? Have you expanded the marketing reach of your company? What has been greatly improved by your involvement?
4. Mentor. Have you increased profitability for both the short and long term by helping a person or group within the company to understand how to better fulfill their potential? Successful mentoring can save costs by increasing efficiency, grooming future leadership or by preventing or reducing employee turnover.
5. Facilitate. Have you made things go smoother by paving the way for others, coordinating communication or removing roadblocks? If you order the supplies, book a room, set up the audio/visual equipment or do any number of other tasks, you are facilitating the work of your boss or others.
6. Collaborate. You don't need to be the head of something to take appropriate credit for your role in its success. In fact, few accomplishments are achieved without the contributions of a team of individuals. This verb allows you to talk about your contribution and demonstrate your effectiveness as a team player.
7. Motivate. You can't necessarily attach a dollar value to motivation, but surely if you somehow inspire others you impact their productivity. When you inspire others to work at their best, your effects are magnified in all their accomplishments.
8. Align/Realign. Have you somehow helped to get disparate parts of an organization or process to mesh together more smoothly? Perhaps you have had a hand in changing incentives, penalties or re-engineering the relationship between different groups or departments. When you do any of these things, you potentially decrease or eliminate expenses, or enable new creativity through the synergies you engineer.
9. Document. Some roles don't necessarily create products or services, but simply track what is going on in a company. You might document how something gets done, verify that your company has received (or not received) the goods and services it is being charged for or that other processes have been followed according to policy. Documentation plays a key role in saving companies current expenses, and mitigating future potential costly liabilities.
10. Enforce. Many jobs have to do with ensuring corporate compliance to laws, governmental regulations, requirements of funders or corporate policy and procedures. Enforcement can improve the health and safety of employees or customers, reduce penalties associated with unfavorable audit outcomes and otherwise mitigate a company's expenses.
Of course these are only examples to get you thinking. There are numerous other great verbs you might utilize. When you couple your actions with your achievements in each résumé bullet point, you demonstrate your real value. This way you become a truly attractive candidate worthy of strong consideration.
Arnie Fertig is the head coach of JOBHUNTERCOACH.COM, where he utilizes his extensive background in HR Staffing and as owner of a recruiting company to help mid-career job-hunters land their next job. Arnie provides one-to-one coaching services to individuals throughout the U.S. in all aspects of the job hunt, including: resume writing, personal branding, utilizing social media, enhancing networking skills, preparing for interviews, and negotiating compensation.
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