A couple of weeks ago, my friend asked me to share my resume with her because she was applying to jobs and needed a template off of which to work. I have been using the same version of my resume for years. I’ve given it a quick refresh every now and again, but no major overhauls. Over the years, I’ve successfully gotten many interviews and job offers, so I never gave much thought to how it could be improved.
After sharing my resume, my friend called me and thanked me. Then, she made the following comment: “Your resume is really good at detailing all the things you do, but doesn’t really convey what you’ve achieved. You’re so accomplished, but your resume doesn’t really reflect that.” I was shocked. I had never stopped to think about the difference between doing and achieving. It was food for thought for sure.
This idea of doing vs. achieving is certainly something to keep in mind when creating a resume. Instead of focusing on task-based job descriptions, it’s more effective to focus on results-based descriptions. When you tell a potential employer what you’ve accomplished, you’re giving them insight into how you’ve made a difference at your current company and how you can do the same for them. I was also guilty of using passive verbs like, “assisted with” or “managed,” which is pretty common, but won’t help me stand out among the pile of other equally qualified candidates.
Focusing on achieving versus doing is not just a concept that applies to resume writing, however. It also applies to how we approach our jobs everyday. It isn’t enough to just get a bunch of tasks done if we want to advance and grow. Instead, we should prioritize and focus our efforts on the projects that are going to help us achieve something of value. Of course, e-mails need to get answered and copies must be made. But, taking the time to map out the contributions that will really showcase your value is a worthwhile exercise that can really make a difference.