Break this Resume Writing "Rule" to Achieve Success

PR Newswire

AMBLER, Pa., March 7, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- True or False: A resume needs only a chronological listing of your work history and duties.

If you answered "True," to that statement, you're not alone, friend. Seventy-five to ninety percent of the resumes that cross my desk manifest that statement. That's a whole lot of people looking the wrong way.

"The wrong way at what?" you ask. Fair question. After all, ever since the resume came into being, it's always been thought of as a listing of jobs and duties, arranged in reverse chronological order. And, truth to tell, that's what employers wanted for years and years.

However, in the past ten years or so, the rules changed. Perhaps it was because so many companies lean heavily on their accountants for advice. Or perhaps it was simply a natural progression. Whatever the reason, that "rule" that begins this article is no more relevant than the adding machine.

There are two truths that replaced that "rule": First of all, a resume is not about your past at all. And secondly, a document full of job duties will not get you anywhere in today's workplace.

Your resume is a marketing document that is about your future, not your past. Oh, don't get me wrong, there still will be the familiar elements of your Introduction, your Professional History, and your Education. But there's a none-too-subtle difference between a past-oriented resume and a future-oriented one. That difference can be summed up in a single word: Accomplishments.

What do I mean? I can show you what I mean more easily than I can tell you.

  1. Take customers' food orders. Operate credit card machines and cash registers.
  2. Earned a reputation for providing exceptional customer service in a high-stress, fast-paced environment by taking accurate orders and operating credit card machines and cash registers

Do you see how much more life example #2 has? How much more promising the person looks in example #2? They're both from the same job seeker, but you came away from reading #2 with an entirely different view of the candidate than from #1. And all because example #2 turned what were mere job duties into accomplishments. Example #2 provides a picture of the candidate at work; you can almost hear the cash register. And what's more, it also provides a promise for the future, because, as Dr. Phil is fond of telling us: "The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior."

There's another difference between the 2 examples. Did you notice what it was? Example #2 removes any mention of food from the statement. Which could turn out to be the difference between getting the interview and being an also-ran.

What are your accomplishments? Everyone has them, but not everyone realizes it. There's a simple way to determine if your action was an accomplishment. Write out the item you performed, then think about all the things your employer got because you did that item. Did the company get something extra because you performed that action? Would they have gotten that extra if you weren't there to do it? Were you the "go-to" person for any specialty? Then, when you have your accomplishments separated from your job duties, your accomplishments should look like this:

"Achieved (result that benefited the company) by (performing specific action)."

You'll be amazed at the result.

Media Contact: Jack Mulcahy, Jack Mulcahy Resume Services, 2158409032,

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