In the last two years, I’ve been actively assisting clients in many different industries in updating their resumes. During this time I’ve noticed a trend that I am hoping to help with. Nine (9) out of ten (10) resumes that I review are missing the 3 key elements that make a resume: Strengths, Skills, and Achievements
As a courtesy, I just reviewed a past colleagues resume in order to provide feedback and once again, their resume was missing these three key elements. Hence what has prompted this post.
These elements are what will help you stand out from your competitors. Think of your resume as your brochure; your marketing tool. It must tell the story of who you are and your background but most importantly it must start with the “Why?“.
- Why should your potential employer stop to read your resume out of the stack of 100?
- Why are you the best candidate?
- Why should they call you in for an interview?
To determine the “Why”, think your professional experience as it is relevant to the job that you will be applying for and ask yourself the following questions for each of the past positions you will be listing on your resume:
- What has made me stand out at work?
- What have I brought to the table?
- What do my bosses recognize and mention that I am doing well during my annual reviews?
- What do I love to do?
- What are my natural strengths and talents? What comes naturally?
- What strong skills do I have that my colleagues do not have or that are stronger than theirs?
- What am I proud of?
- How have I made a difference at my job?
- If I am gone, how would I be remembered?
- How have I contributed to the success of the business?
- What schooling or training do I have?
- What are some of the skills I’ve learned through my hands on experience?
After you ask yourself these questions you should have a list of top skills, strengths and accomplishments that you can incorporate into the body of your resume.
Now you may ask yourself, what is the difference and why are these three key elements so important? I’ll tell you why!
Strengths: Strengths are tasks or actions that you can do well and make you stand out from your colleagues. These include talents, knowledge, and skills. People use these traits and abilities in their daily lives to complete work, relate with others, and to achieve goals. Everybody has their own set of strengths. By discovering what your strengths are you learn how to use your natural talents every day so you can thrive in life and at work. Instead of wasting time trying to fix your weaknesses, learn how to develop and apply your strengths for success. To help you identify your strengths ask yourself the following:
- How do you absorb, think about and analyze information and situations?
- How do you make things happen?
- How do you influence others? How do you build and nurture strong relationships?
For example your strengths may look like this: Strategic, Focus, Communication, Development
Skills: Key skills are work-related skills that you need to do a job. Most often, you can find key skills in job descriptions. Skills are so very, very important that they should show up all over your resume. Not just in the resume skills section. There are soft skills and hard skills. When you’re deciding what resume skills to add, technical and other expert-level know-how should definitely get first dibs.
Certain soft skills, like those that signal leadership, negotiation, and communication skills, are great to add to your resume in moderation and where appropriate. But be selective. You want to be avoid being overly fluffy. Employers are looking for concrete skills. If they’re filling an engineering position, they don’t care how ‘outgoing’ you are.
The Difference Between Hard Skills and Soft Skills
What Are Hard Skills? Hard skills are teachable abilities or skill sets that are easy to quantify. Typically, you’ll learn hard skills in the classroom, through books or other training materials, or on the job.
Here’s a list of typical hard skills to include on a resume:
- Proficiency in a foreign language
- A degree or certificate
- Machine operation
- Computer programming
- SEO/SEM Marketing
- Planning / Event Planning
- Project Management
- Data Analysis
What Are Soft Skills? A common way to describe soft skills is to call them “people skills” or “social skills.” Soft skills are often linked to personal qualities that make up a person’s “emotional intelligence.”
Examples of soft skills include:
- Ability to Work Under Pressure
- Decision Making
- Time Management
- Conflict Resolution
- Relationship Building
Achievements: This is the area that most miss. Remember when a resume mainly listed responsibilities? That’s a thing of the past. Responsibilities are job descriptions pure and simple. Today, employers want to know what you actually achieved—delivered based on key organizational goals. Achievements is what you brought to the table. How you made a difference in the organization.
What qualifies as resume achievements? Think about sales performance, increased team efficiencies, new policies, procedures, and systems … stuff like this.
They want to know how you performed—the results of your efforts, not just a description of your job functions.
For example: Replace such statements as “managed marketing department” with “optimized department by building a marketing team that focused on media needs and captured 15% more market share.”
Stand out and get the attention, promotion, salary, and recognition you deserve by not ignoring these 3 key elements and I promise you will have a resume that will be worth more than 3 seconds.
If you rather have someone help you and want to learn how I can be of assistance schedule a call on my calendar at a time that is convenient for you: https://calendly.com/vimariroman