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Digging Deep: How to Uncover Critical Accomplishments to Make Your Resumes Shine

By Wendy Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW

As professional resume writers, we all know that a great deal of a resume’s effectiveness is based on accomplishments - what a job seeker has done to improve operations, increase revenues, strengthen bottom-line profits, reduce operating costs, enhance business processes, upgrade technologies, and so much more. And, as we also know, one of the most difficult tasks can be identifying those accomplishments when clients cannot easily articulate them.

To help you become even more effective in identifying your clients’ achievements, I’ve outlined key areas of accomplishments for 13 different professions. Use this information as a guideline when you’re interviewing your clients, digging deep to uncover their accomplishments and showcase them in their resumes.

To identify your clients’ achievements, begin by asking these questions:

ACCOUNTING & FINANCE - It’s all about the money!

–Improvements in revenues, profits, ROI, EBITDA, and other financial measurements

–Design/implementation of cost controls and quantifiable results

–Negotiation of contracts including dollar amounts, profits, cost savings, and more

–Implementation of automated programs, tools, and technologies to optimize business performance

–Partner relationships with investors, pension plan administrators, board of directors, auditors, and others

–Merger, acquisition, joint venture, and divestiture experience

ADMINISTRATION & OFFICE MANAGEMENT - It’s all about organization and efficiency!

–Design/implementation of streamlined work procedures and processes

–Introduction of automated tools, programs, and systems to enhance efficiency

–Internal and external communications responsibilities

–Contributions to improved operations, cost reductions, and overall performance improvements

–Personnel training and development experience, and the success of those employees

–VIP and executive responsibilities and relationships

CUSTOMER SERVICE - It’s all about customers, clients, patrons, and others!

–Improvements in customer service and customer satisfaction scores

–Top industry rankings for quality of customer service organization

–Contributions to sales growth

–Key account management responsibilities and results

–Introduction of automated customer service technologies and tools

–Reductions in customer service operating and overhead costs

ENGINEERING - It’s all about development and improvement!

–Engineering/design of new products and their positive financial impact on the organization

–Engineering/design of new processes and their positive financial impact

–Redesign of existing products and their resulting financial/market/customer impact

–Patents awarded and/or pending

–Integration of advanced technologies to expedite engineering and expand capabilities

–Project planning, management, staffing, leadership, and financial success

EXECUTIVE & GENERAL MANAGEMENT - It’s all about bottom-line performance!

–Measurable increases in revenues, profits, EBITDA, ROI, and other financial indices

–Leadership of/contributions to strategic planning and long-term business development

–Leadership of/contributions to mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, and business-building initiatives

–Success in expanding into new markets, new geographic regions, new countries, and more

–Improvements in organizational performance, infrastructure, productivity, yield, and more

–Recruitment and leadership of successful management teams (and their contributions)

HEALTH CARE - It’s all about quality!

–Positive impact on quality of care and quality of patient outcomes

–Expansion of health care services, programs, and outreach to meet patient needs

–Development of innovative new health care delivery systems, medical procedures, and the like

–Attainment and maintenance of stringent regulatory requirements

–Implementation of advanced health care and health care support technologies

–Reduction in disease incidence and overall health improvement of targeted patient base

HUMAN RESOURCES - It’s all about the people and their impact on the organization!

–Success in recruiting personnel and their performance within the organization

–Improvements in traditional employee benefits and reductions in premium costs

–Introduction of innovative employee benefits and incentives (e.g., flex time, onsite day care)

–Expansion of HR information systems and technologies

–Creation of expatriate recruitment, training, employee support, and related programs

–Measurement improvements in manpower and organizational performance/productivity

LAW - It’s all about distinction!

–Establishing legal precedents

–Managing prestigious cases and clients

–Breadth of legal experience across multiple legal disciplines

–Demonstrable expertise within one area of legal specialization

–Success in negotiations, arbitrations, mediations, and the courtroom

–Relationships with regulatory, legislative, judicial, and other agencies/organizations

MANUFACTURING & PRODUCTION - It’s all about yield and output!

–Increases in production yield and output, worker productivity, and other performance measurements

–Improvements in quality performance and award of quality certifications

–Reductions in operating costs and overhead expenses

–Design, set-up, and start-up of new manufacturing facilities and production lines

–Seamless introduction of new products into existing manufacturing plants and favorable financial results

–Implementation of new technologies, robotics, and other automated processes, systems, and equipment

RETAIL - It’s all about product movement and sales performance!

–Increases in revenues, profits, and market share

–Improvements in product movement, from warehouse to retail floor to customer sale

–Distinction for merchandise design and display (including sales results)

–Departmental staffing and management responsibilities, and quantifiable results

–Implementation of POS, interactive selling, online selling, and other automated retail technologies

–Reductions in store operating costs, staffing costs, loss rates, and other expenses

SALES & MARKETING - It’s all about capturing clients and generating profitable revenues!

–Increases in revenues, profits, and market share

–Individual sales and account achievements

–Capture of new key accounts and revenue streams

–Sales honors, awards and percentages over quota

–Development of new territories and new markets

–Introduction of new products and services (and results)

TEACHING - It’s all about innovation and student/learner excellence!

–Development of new curricula and instructional programs

–Development of computerized and web-based programs and teaching/learning tools

–Committee memberships, student activities, and special projects

–Management responsibilities for programs, budgets, resources, personnel, and more

–Experience in training and developing other teaching staff

–Measurement of student/learner performance and achievement

TECHNOLOGY - It’s all about technology innovation and advances!

–Development of new technologies and their organization/operational/market impact

–Involvement in emerging e-commerce, e-learning, Web 2.0, telecommunications, and other technologies

–Financial benefits of technology (e.g., revenue gains, cost reductions, productivity improvements)

–Patent awarded and/or pending

–Success in systems migration, conversion, integration, and more

–Domestic and international technology transfer programs and ventures

These questions are just a sampling of the many industry-specific questions you can use to dig for information and identify great achievements. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to write resumes that are just the right mixture of responsibilities, accomplishments, career highlights, and brand for each and every one of your clients.

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