Don’t List Responsibilities on Your Resume

What? Aren’t resumes supposed to show employers all the duties you have fulfilled in your previous jobs? The answer is yes… and no.

What most employers really want to hire is not just a person that has met the qualifications for a particular role. They need to hire a solution—a candidate that can help solve business problems, lead work teams to productivity, or deliver cost savings to the organization. If you are this solution (or person), how can you get the point across to a hiring manager?

The answer represents a fundamental shift in the way many people view a resume, moving the focus from a dry list of tasks to a compelling description of your work. Here are some ways to highlight your strengths and allow the more mundane responsibilities to fade into the background:

Gather pertinent facts.
Today’s employers want to see consistent proof of performance. So how can you provide it? Start with a list of your contributions to the team and the company, then describe the effect on the employer’s bottom line.

The idea, of course, is to rid your resume of the obvious (everyone knows that an accountant manages the general ledger, managers supervise, and network administrators monitor servers), while giving the hiring manager a clear picture of your capabilities. The results of this exercise will amaze you—and the reader.

Be specific!
Concise description of your accomplishments can land interviews. “Grew revenue by 435% to $5 million by winning major contracts” drives your point home better than “Provided contract negotiation support.”

Remember that figures in this case speak much louder than anything else you can use. Quantifying your contributions is an absolute must in order to make your resume stand above others.

Consider your wording carefully.
How catchy is the phrase “Responsible for…?” If you don’t use interesting verbiage, don’t expect much interest! Countless other words can be used to express how you carried out your work.

Avoid tiring the reader’s eye by using the same word over and over. Use a thesaurus to transform overused verbs like “provided” into “generated” or “revitalized.”

Remember, reading hundreds of resumes can wear down even the most energetic hiring manager. Market yourself as the perfect solution that will produce results by concentrating on your accomplishments… and leave the tedious resume wording for use by your competition.

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