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Resume Focus

Learn how to focus on results in composing your resume and cover letters.

Focus on Results to Add Punch to Your Resume and Cover Letter

by Kevin Donlin

If your resume is like most, it's heavy on duties and responsibilities -- the things you do every day. It's probably light on achievements and results.

And your job search is probably taking longer than it should.

Because responsibilities don't excite employers. Results do.

Here's how to put some punch into your resumes and cover letters by focusing on results.

While you must tell your reader a bit about what you do every day, it's far more effective to elaborate on the good things that happen when you do your job well. Example: How many projects did you bring in on time and under budget this year? How did this contribute to increased revenue? Be as specific as possible.

If you're still in college or have only limited work experience, that's OK. You can include reference to scholarships you've won, volunteer fundraising, internships -- any good things you've done that prove you have the skills to do your next job.

If you get stuck trying to include more achievements in your resume and cover letter, try adding "AS A RESULT ... " to the end of your duties and see where that leads you.

Here are two before-and-after examples from actual resumes, sent to me by prospective clients.

BEFORE (all duties, no results):
"Visited branches weekly to motivate sales personnel."

AFTER (with specific results):
"Visited 21 branches weekly to motivate and develop 140 personnel. As a result, put five sales reps into top five rankings statewide -- a company first."

BEFORE (all duties, no results):
"Performed research and cost effective purchasing of fire-fighting equipment."

AFTER (with specific results):
"Researched 13 vendors, negotiated pricing and purchased fire-fighting equipment. As a result, saved $124,000 versus 1999 expenditures."

Are you starting to see the possibilities?

Don't make it hard for employers to figure out your true value. Tell them -- specifically -- in your resumes and cover letters by emphasizing results you've produced. As a result, your next job search should be an achievement in itself.

Best of luck to you!

Kevin Donlin owns and operates Guaranteed Resumes. Since 1995, he has provided resumes, cover letters and online job-search assistance to clients. This article and hundreds like it on topics ranging from networking to resume writing to finding internships also appear in The Last Job Search Guide You'll Ever Need, a self-help job guide.

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