People have a tough time describing their work on a résumé. You’d think it would be easier to talk about something that you do every day. The same problems apply to case studies and marketing materials, and the résumé is no different. Everyone is so accustomed to describing the responsibilities of the post; it is almost as if sometime in between third grade and the present people forgot that they wanted to have accomplished something.
This reminds me of my early sales training. One thing was stressed: Describe the benefits; don’t just describe the features. If you learn to do this and are willing to practice it, you eventually start to think in the context of what benefits the other person instead of what you want.
Describing a job experience as a set of responsibilities is self-centered. You are saying you would like a job where the only expectation of you is to come in and do these tasks and go home. No company wants that. They want increased performance, decreased costs and increased sales or revenue in a reduced amount of time.
A lot of dead weight can be found at every company. A lot of people aren’t able to describe their accomplishments because they don’t have any, and they probably don’t have any because they don’t think in the context of the value they can add. On the other hand there is another set of people out there who are accomplishing great feats for their employers on a regular basis but don’t yet know how to communicate that fact. I hope that you’re both reading and I hope you both get something out of this.
In describing your accomplishments, you are describing the benefits that the hiring manager might expect to see if he or she chooses you, and that is what counts. If you can this person to think about it, picture it, and realize this is what he or she wants, you’re home free. The way to do that is to tell the story of how you accomplished it.
For example, not too long ago I started to describe one of the great Facebook PPC advertising success stories that we had. Sure, you could describe it as:
- Managed a Facebook PPC ad campaign.
- Developed ad copy and images.
- Tested and improved campaign components.
You could say we increased the conversion rate from .36 percent to 5.41 percent after which it stabilized at around 3 percent reducing the cost per conversion, and driving more revenue for the company. The methodology developed during this time was streamlined until subsequent campaigns could be developed in a quarter of the time. Couple that with something tangible such as the following Google Analytics chart:
When you talk about your accomplishments, it becomes easier for the hiring manager to imagine what it would be like if were on board. If you can make it easy for this person to form a mental picture of you making him or her look good, well, that’s half the battle.