Resume Rap – Accomplishments vs. Skills

An ad sales rep reached out to me last night for help with her resume. She approached me with a request to “modernize” her exisiting resume and add additional information about her most current position. I asked her what she meant by “modernize” and got this in response:

My old resume is very action oriented vs. skills oriented (i.e., increased business by x%). Nowadays it seems people are noting more skills. Is this your take on the current style? I just want to be current.”

I was completely taken aback by her question, as this is the exact opposite of what I believe. Accomplishments are the most important thing that you can have on your resume because they truly are the only things that make you stand out against your competition. If I’m a VP of Sales at ABC.com, for example, and I’m looking to hire a Senior AE, you can bet I’m looking for the person who I think can bring in the business and break new accounts.

Think about how many resumes are going to land on that hiring manager’s desk. Each and every one of them is going to say something like: “Experienced salesperson, able to drive new business.” BUT, not everyone is going to be able to say “ Experienced salesperson, with a track record for exceeding revenues by as much as 125%, with an average annual revenue of $4MM.” Being a good salesperson is a SKILL. Bringing in the money is a proven ACCOMPLISHMENT. I’m not saying that Mr. VP at ABC doesn’t want to know what your skills are. But, most importantly, he wants to know that YOU are the one who will add to his bottom line.

Sales people have it easier when it comes to adding quantifiable accomplishments to their resumes. They’ve got numbers to reach and if they reach or exceed them, they can spell it out clean and simple. Support folks – for example, marketing managers – may have a harder time quantifying their accomplishments with numbers, but they still need to think about what they produced, not simply what they “do.” In this business, an assistant is an assistant, a marketing director is a marketing director, a producer is a producer and an editor is an editor. Tell us what’s different about you and your resume will do its job – get you that first interview.

Carpe diem…

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